Major Averages Firmly In Positive Territory In Mid-Day Trading

wallstreet1 up 032918 15dec20

Stocks have fluctuated over the course of the trading day on Tuesday but have maintained a positive bias throughout the session. The major averages are all firmly in positive territory in mid-day trading after closing mixed for three consecutive sessions.

In recent trading, the Dow and the S&P 500 have climbed back toward their best levels of the day. The Dow is up 201.89 points or 0.7 percent at 30,063.44, the Nasdaq is up 71.54 points or 0.6 percent at 12,511.58 and the S&P 500 is up 25.80 points or 0.7 percent at 3,673.29.

Unrelenting optimism about a new fiscal stimulus bill has contributed to the strength on Wall Street even as lawmakers have struggled for months to reach a compromise on a new relief package.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's Deputy Chief of Staff Drew Hammill noted that the Democratic leader spoke with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin about a coronavirus relief bill in a phone conversation Monday night.

"Recognizing the need to advance a final agreement on both matters together and quickly this week, the Speaker and the Secretary discussed the urgency of the committees finishing their work as soon as possible," Hammill said on Twitter.

Hammill said Pelosi reiterated Democrats' concerns about liability provisions, which remain an obstacle to securing state and local funding.

The conversation between Pelosi and Mnuchin came as bipartisan group of lawmakers publicly released their latest proposal, which was largely in line with a report from Reuters on Monday.

The proposal calls for a previously unveiled $908 billion bipartisan relief plan to be split into two proposals that could be voted on separately in order to win approval.

One bill would be a $748 billion measure including money for small businesses, the jobless and COVID-19 vaccine distribution, while the other would include more controversial measures such as liability protections for business and aid for state and local governments.

According to a report from CNBC, Pelosi has invited her fellow congressional leaders to a meeting Tuesday to try to strike deals to fund the government and send another round of coronavirus relief.

A source familiar with her outreach told CNBC that Pelosi has invited Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy.

Adding to the positive sentiment, the Federal Reserve released a report showing U.S. industrial production rose by slightly more than expected in the month of November.

The report said industrial production climbed by 0.4 percent in November following a downwardly revised 0.9 percent advance in October.

Economists had expected industrial production to rise by 0.3 percent compared to the 1.1 percent jump originally reported for the previous month.

Sector News

Gold stocks continue to see considerable strength after trending lower over the past several sessions, driving the NYSE Arca Gold Bugs Index up by 3 percent.

The rebound by gold stocks comes amid a sharp increase by the price of the precious metal, with gold for February delivery jumping $20.50 to $1,852.60 an ounce.

Significant strength has also emerged among oil service stocks, as reflected by the 2 percent advance by the Philadelphia Oil Service Index. The strength in the sector comes as crude oil for January delivery is climbing $0.51 to $47.50 a barrel.

Computer hardware stocks also continue to turn in a strong performance in mid-day trading, resulting in a 2 percent jump by the NYSE Arca Computer Hardware Index. With the gain, the index has reached a record intraday high.

Steel, utilities and financial stocks are also seeing notable strength on the day, moving higher along with most of the other major sectors.

Other Markets

In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region moved modestly lower during trading on Tuesday. Japan's Nikkei 225 Index dipped by 0.2 percent, while China's Shanghai Composite Index edged down by 0.1 percent.

Meanwhile, the major European markets turned in another mixed performance on the day. While the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index fell by 0.3 percent, the French CAC 40 Index inched up by 0.1 percent and the German DAX Index surged up by 1.1 percent.

In the bond market, treasuries have moved modestly lower after ending the previous session nearly flat. As a result, the yield on the benchmark ten-year note, which moves opposite of its price, is up by 1.9 basis points at 0.911 percent.

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