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Stocks Continue To Regain Ground In Morning Trading - U.S. Commentary


Extending the upward move seen over the course of the previous session, stocks have moved mostly higher in morning trading on Friday. The major averages are further offsetting the sell-off that was seen on Wednesday.

Currently, the major averages are just off their highs of the session. The Dow is up 116.35 points or 0.6 percent at 20,779.37, the Nasdaq is up 42.17 points or 0.7 percent at 6,097.30 and the S&P 500 is up 17.23 points or 0.7 percent at 2,382.95.

The strength on Wall Street comes as traders continue to pick up stocks at relatively low levels following the substantial weakness that was seen two days ago.

The sell-off on Wednesday was triggered in part by reports President Donald Trump asked former FBI Director Comey to drop a federal investigation of former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn.

However, Trump flatly denied the claim he urged Comey to back off Flynn in a news conference after the close of trading on Thursday.

Trump sought to reassure Americans he was focused on efforts to create jobs, cut taxes and repeal and replace Obamacare despite the recent scandals that have plagued the White House.

"We have to get back to running this country really, really well," Trump said. "My total priority, believe me, is the United States of America."

Positive sentiment may also have been generated by comments from St. Louis Federal Reserve President James Bullard raising questions about the need for another increase in interest rates next month.

Noting the financial market reaction to the March rate hike has been opposite of what is typically expected, Bullard said the Fed's contemplated policy rate path may be overly aggressive relative to incoming economic data.

Bullard, who is not a voting member of the Fed's policy committee this year, pointed out that U.S. macroeconomic data since the March meeting has been relatively weak.

Steel stocks have shown a substantial move to the upside on the day, driving the NYSE Arca Steel Index up by 3.4 percent. The index is bouncing off its lowest closing level in six months.

Considerable strength is also visible among energy stocks, which are moving higher along with the price of crude oil. Crude for June delivery is jumping $0.92 to $50.27 a barrel.

Telecom, chemical, and gold stocks are also seeing significant strength, moving higher along with most of the other major sectors.

In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region turned in a mixed performance during trading on Friday. Japan's Nikkei 225 Index crept up by 0.2 percent, while Australia's All Ordinaries Index edged down by 0.1 percent.

Meanwhile, the major European markets have all moved to the upside on the day. While the French CAC 40 Index has climbed by 0.5 percent, the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index and the German DAX Index are both up by 0.4 percent.

In the bond market, treasuries continue to give back ground following the rally seen on Wednesday. As a result, the yield on the benchmark ten-year note, which moves opposite of its price, is up by 2.1 basis points at 2.254 percent.

by RTTNews Staff Writer

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