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U.S. Stocks Remain Sharply Higher In Mid-Day Trading

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After moving sharply higher early in the session, stocks have seen some further upside over the course o the trading day on Friday. With the rally on the day, the major averages are extending the strong upward move seen over the two previous sessions.

The major averages have pulled back off their best levels in recent trading but remain firmly positive. The Dow is up 423.45 points or 1.6 percent at 26,920.12, the Nasdaq is up 136.05 points or 1.7 percent at 8,086.84 and the S&P 500 is up 45.57 points or 1.6 percent at 2,983.70.

The markets continue to benefit from optimism about ongoing U.S.-China trade talks, with upbeat comments from President Donald Trump adding to the positive sentiment.

"Good things are happening at China Trade Talk Meeting. Warmer feelings than in recent past, more like the Old Days," Trump said in a post on Twitter. "I will be meeting with the Vice Premier today. All would like to see something significant happen!"

Trump noted in a subsequent tweet that a potential trade deal with China would not have to go through the "very long and politically complex Congressional Approval Process."

The tweets from Trump come after he told reporters shortly after the close of trading on Thursday that the talks with China are going "really well."

"So, we just completed a negotiation with China. We're doing very well. We're having another one tomorrow. I'm meeting with the Vice Premier over at the White House," Trump said. "And I think it's going really well, I will say. I think it's going really well."

While Trump is almost always upbeat about talks with China, his remarks were backed up by a White House official, who told Reuters the talks had gone very well, "probably better than expected."

A U.S. Chamber of Commerce official briefed on the talks also told reporters the two sides could at least reach a partial deal that includes the U.S. calling off a planned increase in tariffs on Chinese goods.

Traders are likely to remain focused on any reports of progress in the talks or a lack thereof, potentially leading to some volatility on Wall Street.

Sector News

Oil service stocks have shown a substantial move to the upside over the course of the trading day, driving the Philadelphia Oil Service Index up by 3.8 percent.

The rally by oil service stocks comes amid an increase by the price of crude oil, with crude for November delivery climbing $0.82 to $54.37 a barrel.

Optimism about the U.S.-China trade talks also continues to contribute to significant strength among steel stocks, as reflected by the 3.8 percent spike by the NYSE Arca Steel Index.

Chemical, banking, and transportation stocks are also seeing considerable strength on the day, moving higher along with most of the other major sectors.

Meanwhile, gold stocks are among the few groups bucking the uptrend, with the NYSE Arca Gold Bugs Index plunging by 3.5 percent.

The sell-off by gold stocks comes amid a steep drop by the price of the precious metal, as gold for December delivery is tumbling $15.10 to $1,485.80 an ounce.

Other Markets

In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region moved mostly higher during trading on Friday. Japan's Nikkei 225 Index jumped by 1.2 percent, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index soared by 2.3 percent.

The major European markets also showed strong moves to the upside on the day. While the German DAX Index spiked by 2.9 percent, the French CAC 40 Index surged up by 1.7 percent and the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index advanced by 0.8 percent.

In the bond markets, treasuries are extending the sharp pullback seen over the two previous sessions. As a result, the yield on the benchmark ten-year note, which moves opposite of its price, is up by 9 basis points at 1.748 percent.

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