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Stocks Give Back Ground But Remain Mostly Positive - U.S. Commentary

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After moving sharply higher at the start of trading, stocks have given back some ground over the course of the trading session on Friday. The major averages have pulled back off their best levels of the day but remain in positive territory.

Currently, the tech-heavy Nasdaq continues to outperform its counterparts. While the Nasdaq is up 117.65 points or 1.6 percent at 7,446.71, the Dow is up 168.54 points or 0.7 percent at 25,221.37 and the S&P 500 is up 26.65 points or 1 percent at 2,755.02.

Bargain hunting contributed to the initial strength on Wall Street, with the major averages bouncing off the multi-month closing lows set on Thursday.

The rebound also came on the heels of strength in the overseas markets, which moved higher as strong Chinese trade data helped eased concerns over slowing global growth.

Figures from China's customs administration showed Chinese exports logged double-digit annual growth in September despite escalating trade tensions with the U.S.

Additionally, top White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow told reporters a meeting between President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping at a multilateral summit in November is "under discussion."

On the U.S. economic front, the Labor Department released a report showing a much bigger than expected increase in U.S. import prices in the month of September.

The Labor Department said import prices climbed by 0.5 percent in September after falling by a revised 0.4 percent in August. Economists had expected import prices to rise by 0.2 percent.

Meanwhile, the report said export prices came in unchanged in September after slipping by a revised 0.2 percent in August. Export prices had also been expected to increase by 0.2 percent.

A separate report from the University of Michigan unexpected showed a modest decrease in consumer sentiment in the month of October.

The preliminary report showed the consumer sentiment index dipped to 99.0 in October from the final September reading of 100.1. The drop surprised economists, who had expected the index to inch up to 100.4.

Sector News

Retail stocks continue to turn in some of the market's best performances in mid-day trading, with the Dow Jones Retail Index jumping by 2.2 percent. The index is rebounding after ending Thursday's trading at a three-month closing low.

Significant strength also remains visible among biotechnology, semiconductor and computer hardware stocks, helping the tech-heavy Nasdaq hold on to a substantial gain.

Healthcare, chemical, and steel stocks are also seeing notable strength on the day, while gold stocks are pulling back along with the price of the precious metal.

Other Markets

In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region rebounded on Friday following recent weakness. Japan's Nikkei 225 Index rose by 0.5 percent, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index surged up by 2.1 percent.

Meanwhile, the major European markets turned lower over the course of the session. While the German DAX Index edged down by 0.1 percent, the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index and the French CAC 40 Index both dipped by 0.2 percent.

In the bond market, treasuries have climbed off their worst levels but continue to see modest weakness. As a result, the yield on the benchmark ten-year note, which moves opposite of its price, is up by 1.5 basis points at 3.148 percent.

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