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Stocks Mostly Positive In Morning Trading - U.S. Commentary

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Stocks are mostly positive in morning trading on Tuesday, extending the upward move seen over the course of the previous session. The major averages have all moved to the upside, although trading activity is somewhat subdued.

Currently, the Dow is up 15.41 points or 0.1 percent at 24,890.17, the Nasdaq is up 41.79 points or 0.6 percent at 7,372.49 and the S&P 500 is up 6.91 points or 0.3 percent at 2,727.85.

The strength on Wall Street comes amid easing geopolitical concerns following reports that North Korea is willing to talk about denuclearization.

South Korea's national security director Chung Eui-yong told reporters North Korea would be willing to denuclearize if its security was guaranteed.

"North Korea made clear its willingness to denuclearize the Korean peninsula and the fact there is no reason for it to have a nuclear program if military threats against the North are resolved and its regime is secure," Chung said.

On the U.S. economic front, the Commerce Department released a report showing a slightly bigger than expected decrease in factory orders in the month of January.

The Commerce Department said factory orders tumbled by 1.4 percent in January after jumping by an upwardly revised 1.8 percent in December.

Economists had expected factory orders to drop by 1.3 percent compared to the 1.7 percent spike originally reported for the previous month.

Gold stocks have shown a significant move to the upside on the day, driving the NYSE Arca Gold Bugs Index up by 2.9 percent.

The strength among gold stocks comes amid a sharp increase by the price of the precious metal, as gold for April delivery is jumping $16.30 to $1,336.20 an ounce.

Computer hardware and semiconductor stocks are also seeing considerable strength, while weakness is visible among telecom and utilities stocks.

In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region moved sharply higher during trading on Tuesday. Japan's Nikkei 225 Index shot up by 1.8 percent, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index soared by 2.1 percent.

The major European markets have also moved to the upside on the day. While the French CAC 40 Index has climbed by 0.7 percent, the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index and the German DAX Index are both up by 0.8 percent.

In the bond market, treasuries are seeing modest strength following the downturn seen in the previous session. Subsequently, the yield on the benchmark ten-year note, which moves opposite of its price, is down by 1.1 basis points at 2.870 percent.

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