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Nasdaq Bounces Into Positive Territory, Dow Reaches New Record High

wallstreet sep4 24feb21 lt

After turning in a mixed performance early in the session, stocks have moved mostly higher over the course of the trading day on Wednesday. The tech-heavy Nasdaq has joined its counterparts in positive territory, while the Dow has reached a new record intraday high.

The major averages have seen further upside in recent trading, reaching new highs for the session. The Dow is up 326.43 points or 1 percent at 31,863.78, the Nasdaq is up 101.19 points or 0.8 percent at 13,566.39 and the S&P 500 is up 35.73 points or 0.9 percent at 3,917.10.

The mixed performance seen in early trading came amid a continued increase in treasury yields, with the yields on ten-year notes and thirty-year bonds reaching their highest intraday levels in a year.

The continued advance by yields inspired some traders to cycle out of high-flying tech stocks, leading to a steep drop by Nasdaq.

However, the yields on ten-year notes and thirty-year bonds have subsequently pulled back well off their highs, easing concerns about a higher interest rate environment.

The fluctuations by yields come as Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell has once again reiterated that the Fed is likely to maintain its ultra-easy monetary policy for the foreseeable future.

Powell is currently testifying before House Financial Services Committee, with his prepared remarks mirroring those he delivered before the Senate Banking Committee on Tuesday.

News FDA staff have endorsed Johnson & Johnson's (JNJ) Covid-19 vaccine for emergency use may also be contributing to the strength on Wall Street, with the move paving the way for final approval of the new single-dose vaccine.

On the U.S. economic front, data released by the Commerce Department showed a much bigger than expected jump in new home sales in the U.S. in the month of January.

The Commerce Department said new home sales spiked by 4.3 percent to an annual rate of 923,000 in January after soaring by 5.5 percent to a revised rate of 885,000 in December.

Economists had expected new home sales to surge up by 1.5 percent to a rate of 855,000 from the 842,000 originally reported for the previous month.

Sector News

Energy stocks continue to see substantial strength on the day, benefiting from a sharp increase by the price of crude oil.

Crude for April delivery is jumping $1.38 to $63.05 a barrel despite the release of a report showing an unexpected weekly increase in U.S. crude oil inventories.

Reflecting the strength in the energy sector, the Philadelphia Oil Service Index is up by 5.8 percent, the NYSE Arca Oil Index is up by 3 percent and the NYSE Arca Natural Gas Index is up by 2.3 percent.

Significant strength also remains visible among airline stocks, with the NYSE Arca Airline Index soaring by 3.7 percent to its best intraday level in a year.

Banking stocks have also moved sharply higher over the course of the session, driving the KBW Bank Index up by 2.4 percent to a fourteen-year intraday high.

Steel, pharmaceutical and gold stocks are also seeing notable strength, while retail and utilities stocks are bucking the uptrend.

Other Markets

In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region moved sharply lower during trading on Wednesday. Japan's Nikkei 225 Index tumbled by 1.6 percent, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index plunged by 3 percent.

Meanwhile, the major European markets moved to the upside on the day. While the German DAX Index advanced by 0.8 percent, the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index climbed by 0.5 percent and the French CAC 40 Index rose by 0.3 percent.

In the bond market, treasuries have climbed well off their worst levels of the day but remain slightly lower. Subsequently, the yield on the benchmark ten-year note, which moves opposite of its price, is up by 1 basis point at 1.372 percent.

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