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Stocks Give Back Ground After Initial Upward Move - U.S. Commentary

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Stocks showed a strong move to the upside in early trading on Friday after ending the previous session little changed. The initial upward move lifted the Nasdaq and the S&P 500 their best intraday levels in over six months.

The major averages have pulled back off their highs of the session since then but currently remain positive. The Dow is up 200.57 points or 0.8 percent at 26,343.62, the Nasdaq is up 18.14 points or 0.2 percent at 7,965.50 and the S&P 500 is up 12.77 points or 0.4 percent at 2,901.09.

The early strength on Wall Street came amid a positive reaction to quarterly results from JPMorgan Chase (JPM), with the financial giant jumping by 3.8 percent.

Before the start of trading, JPMorgan kicked off the earnings season by reporting record first quarter earnings and revenues that exceeded analyst estimates.

The better than expected results from JPMorgan partly offset some of the recent concerns about corporate results for the quarter.

Shares of Disney (DIS) have also surged up by 8.8 percent after the entertainment giant initially priced its streaming service well below Netflix (NFLX).

Buying interest has waned since the open, however, as traders seem reluctant to make more significant moves ahead of the release of quarterly results from a slew of big-name companies next week.

A report from the Labor Department showing a bigger than expected increase in import prices in March may also have raised inflation concerns, although the price growth was largely due to another spike in fuel prices.

Natural gas stocks have shown a significant move to the upside in morning trading, with the NYSE Arca Natural Gas Index up by 1.6 percent after reaching a five-month intraday high.

The strength in the sector comes after oil and gas exploration and production company Anadarko Petroleum (APC) agreed to be acquired by energy giant Chevron (CVX) in a stock and cash transaction valued at $33 billion.

Oil, brokerage, and semiconductor stocks are also seeing some strength on the day, although most of the major sectors are showing only modest moves.

In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region moved mostly higher during trading on Friday. Japan's Nikkei 225 Index advanced by 0.7 percent, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index edged up by 0.2 percent.

The major European markets have also moved to the upside on the day. While the German DAX Index has climbed by 0.6 percent, the French CAC 40 Index is up by 0.3 percent and the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index is up by 0.1 percent.

In the bond market, treasuries are extending the downward move seen over the course of the previous session. Subsequently, the yield on the benchmark ten-year note, which moves opposite of its price, is up by 3.8 basis points at 2.542 percent.

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