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Stocks Hovering In Positive Territory In Mid-Day Trading - U.S. Commentary


After moving to the upside early in the session, stocks remain mostly positive in mid-day trading on Monday. The upward move on the day lifted the Dow and the S&P 500 to new record intraday highs earlier in the session.

The major averages have moved roughly sideways in recent trading, hovering firmly in positive territory. The Dow is up 115.68 points or 0.5 percent at 21,499.96, the Nasdaq is up 71.25 points or 1.2 percent at 6,223.01 and the S&P 500 is up 16.77 points or 0.7 percent at 2,449.92.

The buying interest on Wall Street may be partly in reaction to strength in the overseas markets, which benefited from political news out of Europe.

French President Emmanuel Macron's party won a clear parliamentary majority in Sunday's election, giving him a strong mandate in parliament to pursue his pro-European Union, business-friendly reform plans.

Additionally, Brexit negotiations with the EU have begun after Britain bowed to pressure for a formal opening to their long-awaited negotiations rather than first holding technical talks between civil servants.

Trading activity has remained somewhat subdued, however, as a lack of major U.S. economic data is keeping some traders on the sidelines.

The economic calendar for the week remains relatively quiet, although traders are likely to keep an eye on reports on new and existing home sales and leading economic indicators.

Meanwhile, New York Federal Reserve President William Dudley predicted that inflation will gradually rise as a tight labor market leads to higher wages.

"Inflation is a little lower than what we would like, but we think that if the labor market continues to tighten, wages will gradually pick up and with that, inflation will gradually get back to 2 percent," Dudley said.

The comments from Dudley come after the Fed's widely expected to decision to raise interest rates by a quarter point last week.

Sector News

Biotechnology stocks are seeing substantial strength in mid-day trading, resulting in a 2 percent jump by the NYSE Arca Biotechnology Index. With the spike, the index has reached its best intraday level in well over a year.

Clovis Oncology (CLVS) is leading the sector higher after the biopharmaceutical company announced positive late-stage trial data for its ovarian cancer drug.

Significant strength is also visible among semiconductor stocks, as reflected by the 1.6 percent advance by the Philadelphia Semiconductor Index. Micron (MU) and Nvidia (NVDA) are posting standout gains.

Steel stocks have pulled back off their best levels but remain notably higher after Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross told Bloomberg that President Donald Trump intends to take "bold action" to address the national security risks posed by steel imports.

Airline, internet, and banking stocks are also turning in strong performances in mid-day trading, moving higher along with most of the other major sectors.

Other Markets

In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region moved mostly higher during trading on Monday. Japan's Nikkei 225 Index climbed by 0.6 percent, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index jumped by 1.2 percent.

The major European markets also moved to the upside on the day. While the German DAX Index surged up by 1.1 percent, the French CAC 40 Index and the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index advanced by 0.9 percent and 0.8 percent, respectively.

In the bond market, treasuries remain in the red after turning lower early in the session. As a result, the yield on the benchmark ten-year note, which moves opposite of its price, is up by 1.9 basis points at 2.176 percent.

by RTTNews Staff Writer

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