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Stocks Move To The Upside, Nasdaq Reaches Record High - U.S. Commentary

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After initially showing a lack of direction, stocks have moved mostly higher over the course of the trading session on Wednesday. With the upward move on the day, the tech-heavy Nasdaq has once again reached a new record intraday high.

Currently, the major averages are just off their highs of the session. The Dow is up 194.15 points or 0.8 percent at 24,994.13, the Nasdaq is up 19.99 points or 0.3 percent at 7,657.86 and the S&P 500 is up 10.67 points or 0.4 percent at 2,759.47.

Banking stocks continue to turn in some of the market's best performances in mid-day trading, with the KBW Bank Index climbing by 1.6 percent.

Significant strength is also visible among steel stocks, as reflected by the 1.2 percent gain being posted by the NYSE Arca Steel Index.

Brokerage, biotechnology and chemical stocks have also moved to the upside on the day, while utilities stocks continue to see considerable weakness.

Trading activity has remained somewhat subdued, however, as traders look ahead to a G-7 summit in Canada this week as well as the planned meeting between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un next week.

Amid ongoing concerns about a global trade war, the Commerce Department released a report this morning showing the U.S. trade deficit unexpectedly narrowed in the month of April.

The Commerce Department said the trade deficit narrowed to $46.2 billion in April from a revised $47.2 billion in March.

Economists had expected the deficit to come in unchanged compared to the $49.0 billion originally reported for the previous month.

A separate report from the Labor Department showed labor productivity in the U.S. increased by less than previously estimated in the first quarter.

The report said labor productivity rose by 0.4 percent in the first quarter compared to the previously estimated 0.7 percent growth. Economists had expected the increase in productivity to be downwardly revised to 0.6 percent.

Meanwhile, the rate of growth in unit labor costs in the first quarter was upwardly revised to 2.9 percent from 2.7 percent. The increase in costs had been expected to be revised to 2.8 percent.

In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region moved to the upside during trading on Wednesday. Japan's Nikkei 225 Index rose by 0.4 percent, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index climbed by 0.5 percent.

Meanwhile, the major European markets turned in another mixed performance on the day. While the French CAC 40 Index edged down by 0.1 percent, the German DAX Index and the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index both rose by 0.3 percent.

In the bond market, treasuries are pulling back following the modest strength seen in the previous session. Subsequently, the yield on the benchmark ten-year note, which moves opposite of its price, is up by 5.3 basis points at 2.972 percent.

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