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Stocks Moving Mostly Higher Following Mixed Batch Of Data - U.S. Commentary


Stocks have moved mostly higher in early trading on Friday, extending the strong upward move seen over the past few sessions. The major averages have climbed firmly into positive territory, further offsetting the sell-off seen late last month.

In recent trading, the major averages have seen some further upside, reaching new highs for the young session. The Dow is up 50.83 points or 0.3 percent at 16,764.41, the Nasdaq is up 27.27 points or 0.6 percent at 4,480.27 and the S&P 500 is up 7.60 points or 0.4 percent at 1,962.78.

The early strength on Wall Street comes on the heels of a mixed batch of U.S. economic data, including tame inflation data from the Labor Department.

The Labor Department said its producer price index for final demand inched up by 0.1 percent in July after climbing by 0.4 percent in June. The modest increase by the index matched economist estimates.

The modest price growth seems to have offset some of the recent concerns about inflation and its potential impact on the outlook for monetary policy.

A separate report from the Federal Reserve showed a slightly bigger than expected increase in industrial production in July, while a recent report from Thomson Reuters and the University of Michigan showed an unexpected deterioration in consumer sentiment in August.

While most of the major sectors are showing only modest moves, considerable strength has emerged among semiconductor stocks. The Philadelphia Semiconductor Index has advanced by 1.1 percent, extending a recent upward trend.

Applied Materials (AMAT) has helped to lead the semiconductor sector higher after reporting better than expected third quarter earnings.

Oil service, natural gas, and utilities stocks are also seeing some early strength, while gold stocks have come under pressure along with the price of the precious metal.

Among individual stocks, shares of Monster Beverage (MNST) have moved sharply higher after the energy drink maker announced a long-term strategic partnership with beverage giant Coca-Cola (KO). As part of the agreement, Coca-Cola will acquire a nearly 17 percent stake in Monster.

Scientific instruments maker Agilent (A) is also turning in a strong performance after reporting third quarter results that exceeded analyst estimates.

On the other hand, shares of Nordstrom (JWN) have come under pressure after the luxury department store chain reported weaker than expected second quarter same-store sales growth.

In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region moved mostly higher during trading on Friday. Japan's Nikkei 225 Index inched up by less than a tenth of a percent, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index advanced by 0.6 percent.

The major European markets have also moved to the upside on the day. While the French CAC 40 Index is up by 1.2 percent, the German DAX Index is up by 1 percent and the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index is up by 0.9 percent.

In the bond market, treasuries are adding to the modest gains posted in the two previous sessions. As a result, the yield on the benchmark ten-year note, which moves opposite of its price is down by 1.8 basis points at 2.382 percent.

by RTTNews Staff Writer

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