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Stocks Largely Offsetting Drop Seen In Previous Session - U.S. Commentary

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After an early move to the upside, stocks continue to see considerable strength in mid-day trading on Thursday. With the upward move on the day, the tech-heavy Nasdaq has more offset the loss posted in the previous session.

Currently, the major averages are hovering firmly in positive territory. The Dow is up 199.77 points or 0.8 percent at 24,900.22, the Nasdaq is up 77.79 points or 1 percent at 7,794.40 and the S&P 500 is up 18.07 points or 0.7 percent at 2,792.09.

Easing trade concerns have contributed to the rebound on Wall Street after news of U.S. threats of a new 10 percent tariff on $200 billion worth of Chinese imports contributed to the weakness on Wednesday.

China vowed to take countermeasures in response to the new tariffs, although the markets have responded positively to the lack of the announcement of specific retaliation by the Chinese.

Traders also seem optimistic the continued tariff threats will eventually bring the U.S. and China to the table for talks that could result in a long-term trade agreement.

On the U.S. economic front, the Labor Department released a report showing consumer prices edged slightly higher in the month of June.

The Labor Department said its consumer price index inched up by 0.1 percent in June after rising by 0.2 percent in May. Economists had expected consumer prices to increase by 0.2 percent.

Excluding food and energy prices, core consumer prices rose by 0.2 percent for the second consecutive month, matching economist estimates.

While consumer prices showed only a modest monthly increase, the annual rate of growth still accelerated to a more than six-year high of 2.9 percent in June from 2.8 percent in May.

Core consumer price growth also edged up to 2.3 percent in June from 2.2 percent in May, reaching its highest level since January of 2017.

A separate report from the Labor Department showed first-time claims for unemployment benefits fell by more than expected in the week ended July 7th.

The report said initial jobless claims dropped to 214,000, a decrease of 18,000 from the previous week's revised level of 232,000. Economists had expected jobless claims to edge down to 225,000.

Sector News

Telecom stocks have pulled back off their best levels but continue to see significant strength in mid-day trading. The NYSE Arca Telecom Index is up by 1.5 percent after earlier offsetting the 1.7 percent loss posted in the previous session.

Considerable strength also remains visible among pharmaceutical stocks, as reflected by the 1.3 percent gain being posted by the NYSE Arca Pharmaceutical Index. The index has reached its best intraday level in nearly four months.

Biotechnology, computer hardware, and gold stocks are also seeing notable strength on the day, while energy stocks are extending yesterday's sell-off amid a continued decrease by the price of crude oil.

Crude oil for August delivery is falling $0.66 to $69.72 after plunging $3.73 to $70.38 on Wednesday amid concerns about increasing supply.

Other Markets

In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region rebounded during trading on Thursday following yesterday's sell-off. Japan's Nikkei 225 Index jumped by 1.2 percent, while China's Shanghai Composite Index spiked by 2.2 percent.

The major European markets also moved back to the upside on the day. While the French CAC 40 Index jumped by 1 percent, the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index advanced by 0.8 percent and the German DAX Index climbed by 0.6 percent.

In the bond market, treasuries are seeing modest weakness but are off their worst levels of the day. As a result, the yield on the benchmark ten-year note, which moves opposite of its price, is up by 1.4 basis points at 2.856 percent.

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