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U.S. Stocks Hovering Firmly In Positive Territory In Mid-Day Trading

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Stocks remain mostly positive in mid-day trading on Wednesday after showing an early move to the upside. The upward move on the day has lifted the Dow and the S&P 500 to new record intraday highs.

Currently, the major averages are hovering firmly in positive territory. The Dow is up 215.60 points or 0.7 percent at 29,491.94, the Nasdaq is up 68.51 points or 0.7 percent at 9,707.45 and the S&P 500 is up 18.57 points or 0.6 percent at 3,376.32.

The strength on Wall Street comes as traders seem committed to continuing to push stocks to new record highs despite concerns about the economic impact of the coronavirus outbreak.

While China's National Health Commission reported 2,015 new confirmed coronavirus cases and 97 additional deaths, a recent slowdown in the rate of growth in new infections has led to optimism the outbreak is being contained.

With traders consistently shrugging off concerns about the outbreak and a lack of major U.S. economic news to drive the markets, the path of least resistance for stocks still seems to be the upside.

Meanwhile, Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell testified before the Senate Banking Committee earlier in the day.

Powell's prepared remarks mirrored those he delivered before the House Financial Services Committee on Tuesday.

In his prepared remarks, Powell said the Fed is closely monitoring the coronavirus outbreak but also highlighted the resilience of the U.S. economy.

Sector News

Computer hardware stocks have shown a strong move to the upside on the day, driving the NYSE Arca Computer Hardware Index up by 1.5 percent.

Notable strength also remains visible among semiconductor stocks, as reflected by the 1.2 percent gain being posted by the Philadelphia Semiconductor Index.

Energy stocks also continue to see some strength but have pulled back well off their best levels following the release of a report showing a much bigger than expected weekly increase in crude oil inventories.

The pullback by energy stocks comes even though the price of crude oil remains sharply higher, with crude for March delivery jumping $1.42 to $51.32 a barrel.

On the other hand, tobacco stocks are extending the sell-off seen in the previous session, dragging the NYSE Arca Tobacco Index down by 1.3 percent to its lowest intraday level in a year.

Other Markets

In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region moved mostly higher during trading on Wednesday. Japan's Nikkei 225 Index climbed by 0.7 percent, while China's Shanghai Composite Index jumped by 0.9 percent.

The major European markets also moved to the upside on the day. While the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index rose by 0.5 percent, the French CAC 40 Index and the German DAX Index advanced by 0.8 percent and 0.9 percent, respectively.

In the bond market, treasuries are extending the pullback seen in 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 1.628 percent.

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