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Stocks Give Back Ground After Initial Rebound - U.S. Commentary


Following the sell-off seen in the previous session, stocks have regained some ground in morning trading on Friday. The major averages initially moved to the upside, although buying interest has waned since then.

In recent trading, the major averages have pulled back well off their highs of the session. The Dow is up 8.37 points or less than a tenth of a percent at 23,868.83, the Nasdaq is up 11.35 points or 0.2 percent at 6,788.51 and the S&P 500 is up 4.88 points or 0.2 percent at 2,585.88.

Bargain hunting contributed to the initial strength on Wall Street after the steep losses seen in the previous session dragged the major averages down to their lowest levels in about two months.

Traders may also have reacted positively to news that lawmakers managed to end a brief government shutdown with a bill raising spending caps and funding the government until March 23rd.

Buying interest was somewhat subdued, however, as traders continue to express concerns about the outlook for interest rates.

Recent signs of rising inflation have led to worries that the Federal Reserve may raise rates faster than currently anticipated.

Utilities stocks have shown a strong move to the upside after falling sharply in recent sessions. Subsequently, the S&P Utilities Index is up by 1.4 percent.

In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region followed Wall Street sharply lower on Friday. Japan's Nikkei 225 Index tumbled by 2.3 percent, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index crashed by 3.1 percent.

The major European markets have climbed off their worst levels but continue to see weakness on the day. While the French CAC 40 Index is down by 0.8 percent, the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index is down by 0.7 percent and the German DAX Index is down by 0.5 percent.

In the bond market, treasuries have shown a lack of direction but are currently seeing modest strength. 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 2.833 percent.

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