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Dow Climbs Back Within Striking Distance Of Record Highs

wallstreet2 061318 03may21 lt

Stocks have moved mostly higher in morning trading on Monday, partly offsetting the pullback seen in the previous session. With the upward move, the Dow is back within striking distance of the record highs set last month.

Currently, the major averages all remain in positive territory. The Dow is up 306.67 points or 0.9 percent at 34,181.52, the Nasdaq is up 22.09 points or 0.2 percent at 13,984.77 and the S&P 500 is up 21.92 points or 0.5 percent at 4,203.09.

The rebound on Wall Street partly reflects recent upward momentum, which helped propel the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq to new record highs last week.

Largely upbeat earnings and economic news has contributed to positive sentiment on Wall Street in recent sessions, although buying interest has been somewhat subdued.

Traders remain optimistic about the economic outlook, but analysts have raised some concerns about valuations and a potential correction.

Economic data is likely to attract attention in the coming days, with the Labor Department scheduled to release its closely watched monthly jobs report on Friday.

Economists currently expect employment to jump by 988,000 jobs in April after surging up by 916,000 jobs in May. The unemployment rate is also expected to dip to 5.8 percent from 6.0 percent.

Meanwhile, traders have largely shrugged off a report from the Institute for Supply Management showing an unexpected slowdown in the pace of growth in U.S. manufacturing activity.

The ISM said its manufacturing PMI slid to 60.7 in April after jumping to a more than 37-year high of 64.7 in March.

While a reading above 50 still indicates growth in manufacturing activity, economists had expected the index to inch up to 65.0.

"Worker absenteeism, short-term shutdowns due to part shortages, and difficulties in filling open positions continue to be issues that limit manufacturing-growth potential," said Timothy R. Fiore, Chair of the ISM Manufacturing Business Survey Committee.

Gold stocks have shown a substantial move to the upside in morning trading, resulting in a 4.3 percent spike by the NYSE Arca Gold Bugs Index.

The rally by gold stocks comes amid a sharp increase by the price of the precious metal, with gold for June delivery surging up $29.80 to $1,797.50 an ounce.

Considerable strength has also emerged among oil service stocks, as reflected by the 3.4 percent jump by the Philadelphia Oil Service Index.

The strength in the oil service sector comes as the price of crude oil for June delivery is climbing $0.76 to $64.34 a barrel.

Oil producer, transportation and natural gas stocks are also seeing notable strength on the day, moving higher along with most of the other major sectors.

In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region moved mostly lower on Monday, although the Japanese and Chinese markets were closed for holidays. Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index tumbled by 1.3 percent, while South Korea's Kospi slid by 0.7 percent.

Meanwhile, European stocks have moved mostly higher on the day, with the U.K. markets closed for a holiday. The German DAX Index is up by 0.5 percent and the French CAC 40 Index is up by 0.4 percent.

In the bond market, treasuries have moved notably higher over the course of the morning. Subsequently, the yield on the benchmark ten-year note, which moves opposite of its price, is down by 3.9 basis points at 1.592 percent.

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