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Stocks Seeing Modest Strength But Buying Interest Subdued - U.S. Commentary

Stocks are seeing modest strength in late morning trading on Friday, although buying interest remains subdued. The major averages have climbed into positive territory, adding to the gains posted in the two previous sessions.

The modest strength on Wall Street is partly due to upbeat earnings news from big-name companies like online retailer Amazon.com (AMZN), which reported first quarter earnings that fell year-over-year but still came in substantially higher than analysts had expected.

The markets have also benefited from a report showing an unexpected improvement in consumer sentiment in the month of April, with the data overshadowing a separate report showing somewhat weaker than expected GDP growth in the first quarter.

Most of the major sectors are showing only modest moves, although considerable strength is visible among gold stocks. The NYSE Arca Gold Bugs Index is up by 1.1 percent, with the strength in the sector coming amid an increase by the price of gold.

On the other hand, health insurance stocks have come under pressure in early trading, dragging the Morgan Stanley Healthcare Payor Index down by 2.6 percent. Earlier in the session, the index hit a two-month intraday low.

The major averages are currently posting modest gains, not far off their highs for the session. The Dow is up 24.52 points or 0.2 percent at 13,229.14, the Nasdaq is up 8.24 points or 0.3 percent at 3,058.85 and the S&P 500 is up 1.44 points or 0.1 percent at 1,401.42.

by RTTNews Staff Writer

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