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Stocks Moving Higher In Reaction To Economic Data - U.S. Commentary


Stocks have moved back to the upside in early trading on Tuesday after turning in lower over the course of the previous session. The major averages have climbed firmly into positive territory, with the Dow climbing back toward its record highs.

The major averages have recently pulled back off their highs for the young session but are currently holding on to gains. The Dow is up 85.63 points or 0.6 percent at 14,533.38, the Nasdaq is up 13.87 points or 0.4 percent at 3,249.17 and the S&P 500 is up 8.01 points or 0.5 percent at 1,559.70.

The early strength on Wall Street reflects a positive reaction to the latest batch of U.S. economic data, including a report from the Commerce Department showing a bigger than expected increase in durable goods orders.

The report said durable goods orders surged up by 5.7 percent in February following a revised 3.8 percent decrease in January. Economists had expected durable goods orders to rise by 3.5 percent.

While the rebound was largely due to a jump in orders in the volatile transportation sector, economists noted that combining the data for the past two months points strength in the first quarter.

A separate report from Standard & Poor's showed that home prices in major U.S. metropolitan areas increased at an annual rate of 8.1 percent in January, reflecting the strongest growth since June of 2006.

David M. Blitzer, Chairman of the Index Committee at S&P Dow Jones Indices, said, "This marks the highest increase since the housing bubble burst."

Electronic storage stocks have moved notably higher in early trading, driving the NYSE Arca Disk Drive Index up by 1.7 percent. Seagate Technology (STX) and Western Digital (WDC) are posting standout gains.

Healthcare provider, railroad, and oil service stocks are also seeing early strength, while most of the major sectors have shown more modest moves to the upside.

In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region turned in a mixed performance during trading on Tuesday. While Japan's Nikkei 225 Index fell by 0.6 percent, Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index ended the day up by 0.3 percent.

Meanwhile, the major European markets have moved to the upside on the day. While the French CAC 40 Index has risen by 0.7 percent, the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index and the German DAX Index have both edged up by 0.2 percent.

In the bond market, treasuries have moved moderately lower on the heels of the U.S. economic data. As a result, the yield on the benchmark ten-year note, which moves opposite of its price, is up by 2.4 basis points at 1.939 percent.

by RTTNews Staff Writer

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