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Modest Strength Remains Visible On Wall Street - U.S. Commentary

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After moving to the upside early in the session, stocks continue to see modest strength in mid-day trading on Wednesday. The major averages have pulled back off their best levels of the day but remain in positive territory.

Currently, the major averages are hovering above the unchanged line. The Dow is up 115.81 points or 0.5 percent at 24,181.40, the Nasdaq is up 15.35 points or 0.2 percent at 7,039.19 and the S&P 500 is up 5.68 points or 0.2 percent at 2,615.98.

Early buying interest was generated in reaction to upbeat earnings news from financial giants Bank of America (BAC) and Goldman Sachs (GS).

Shares of Bank of America have moved sharply higher trading after the company reported fourth quarter results that beat analyst estimates on both the top and bottom lines.

Goldman Sachs is also seeing significant strength after reporting fourth quarter earnings and revenues that exceeded expectations.

Meanwhile, traders have largely shrugged off the widely anticipated defeat of U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May's Brexit plan.

In U.S. economic news, the Labor Department released a report showing another steep drop in import prices in the month of December, reflecting a continued nosedive in fuel prices

The Labor Department said import prices tumbled by 1.0 percent in December after plunging by a revised 1.9 percent in November.

Economists had expected import prices to plummet by 1.3 percent compared to the 1.6 percent slump originally reported for the previous month.

The report said export prices also fell by 0.6 percent in December after sliding by a revised 0.8 percent in November. The drop in export prices matched economist estimates.

A separate report from the National Association of Home Builders showed an unexpected improvement in homebuilder confidence in January.

The report said the NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index rose to 58 in January after slumping to 56 in December. Economists had expected the index to come in unchanged.

The notable decrease seen in the previous month dragged the housing market index down its lowest level since hitting 54 in May of 2015.

Sector News

Financial stocks continue to turn in some of the market's best performances in mid-day trading following the results from industry giants Bank of America and Goldman Sachs.

Reflecting the strength in the financial sector, the NYSE Arca Broker/Dealer Index and the KBW Bank Index are up by 2.5 percent and 2.3 percent, respectively.

Notable strength has also emerged among steel stocks, resulting in a 1.2 percent advance by the NYSE Arca Steel Index.

On the other hand, computer hardware stocks have come under pressure on the day, dragging the NYSE Arca Computer Hardware Index down by 2.1 percent.

Other Markets

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

The major European markets also ended the day mixed. While the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index dropped by 0.5 percent, the German DAX Index and the French CAC 40 Index climbed by 0.4 percent and 0.5 percent, respectively.

In the bond market, treasuries have moved to the downside after ending the previous session roughly flat. Subsequently, the yield on the benchmark ten-year note, which moves opposite of its price, is up by 1.6 basis points at 2.727 percent.

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