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Major Averages Hovering Firmly In Positive Territory In Afternoon Trading

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After showing a strong move to the upside earlier in the session, stocks continue to see considerable strength in afternoon trading on Tuesday. The major averages are partly offsetting the steep losses posted in the previous session.

Currently, the major averages are hovering firmly in positive territory. The Dow is up 216.64 points or 0.8 percent at 28,752.44, the Nasdaq is up 122.39 points or 1.3 percent at 9,261.70 and the S&P 500 is up 33.26 points or 1 percent at 3,276.89.

Bargain hunting has contributed to the strength on Wall Street, as some traders look to pick up stocks at relatively reduced levels after the sharp drop seen on Monday.

Some traders may feel yesterday's sell-off was overdone, shrugging off concerns about the economic impact of the coronavirus outbreak.

Adding to the positive sentiment, the Conference Board released a report showing a notable improvement in U.S. consumer confidence in the month of January.

The Conference Board said its consumer confidence index climbed to 131.6 in January from an upwardly revised 128.2 in December.

Economists had expected the consumer confidence index to rise to 127.8 from the 126.5 originally reported for the previous month.

"Consumer confidence increased in January, following a moderate advance in December, driven primarily by a more positive assessment of the current job market and increased optimism about future job prospects," said Lynn Franco, Senior Director, Economic Indicators, at The Conference Board.

She added, "Optimism about the labor market should continue to support confidence in the short-term and, as a result, consumers will continue driving growth and prevent the economy from slowing in early 2020."

Before the start of trading, the Commerce Department released a separate report showing new orders for U.S. manufactured durable goods rebounded by much more than anticipated in the month of December.

The report said durable goods orders surged up by 2.4 percent in December after tumbling by a revised 3.1 percent in November. Economists had expected durable goods orders to rise by 0.5 percent.

Orders for transportation equipment led the rebound, spiking by 7.6 percent in December after plunging by 8.3 percent in November.

Excluding orders for transportation equipment, durable goods orders edged down by 0.1 percent in December after falling by 0.4 percent in November. Economists had expected a 0.2 percent uptick.

Sector News

Semiconductor stocks continue to turn in some of the market's best performances in afternoon trading, with the Philadelphia Semiconductor Index jumping by 2.1 percent.

The index is regaining ground after pulling back sharply over the two previous sessions after reaching a record intraday high last Friday.

Significant strength is also visible among housing stocks, as reflected by the ___ percent gain being posted by the Philadelphia Housing Sector Index.

PulteGroup (PHM) is posting a standout gain after the homebuilder reported fourth quarter results that beat analyst estimates on both the top and bottom lines.

Software, banking and oil service stocks are also seeing considerable strength on the day, while gold stocks have moved sharply lower amid a pullback by the price of the precious metal.

Other Markets

In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region moved mostly lower during trading on Tuesday. Japan's Nikkei 225 Index fell by 0.6 percent, while South Korea's Kospi plummeted by 3.1 percent.

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

In the bond market, treasuries are giving back some ground after moving sharply higher over the past few sessions. Subsequently, the yield on the benchmark ten-year note, which moves opposite of its price, is up by 3.7 basis points at 1.642 percent.

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