Upbeat Earnings News Contributing To Rally On Wall Street

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Stocks have shown a strong move to the upside in morning trading on Thursday, adding to the gains posted in the previous session. With the continued advance, the major averages have turned positive for the week.

Currently, the major averages are just off their highs of the session. The Dow is up 392.99 points or 1.1 percent at 34,770.80, the Nasdaq is up 198.10 points or 1.4 percent at 14,769.74 and the S&P 500 is up 54.05 points or 1.2 percent at 4,417.85.

The rally on Wall Street comes as traders react positively to a batch of largely upbeat earnings news from several big-name companies.

Dow component UnitedHealth (UNH) has moved sharply higher after the health insurer reported better than expected third quarter results and raised its full-year guidance.

Financial giant Bank of America (BAC) has also moved to the upside after reporting third quarter results that beat analyst estimates on both the top and bottom lines.

Meanwhile, shares of Citigroup (C) and Morgan Stanley (MS) are little changed after the companies reported third quarter earnings that exceeded expectations.

Adding to the positive sentiment on Wall Street, the Labor Department released a report showing first-time claims for U.S. unemployment benefits dropped below 300,000 for the first time in well over a year in the week ended October 9th.

The report said initial jobless claims fell to 293,000, a decrease of 36,000 from the previous week's revised level of 329,000.

Economists had expected jobless claims to edge down to 319,000 from the 326,000 originally reported for the previous week.

With the bigger than expected decrease, jobless claims dropped to their lowest level since hitting 256,000 in the week ended March 14, 2020.

The Labor Department also released a separate report showing U.S. producer prices increased by slightly less than expected in the month of September.

The Labor Department said its producer price index for final demand rose by 0.5 percent in September after climbing by 0.7 percent in August. Economists had been expecting producer prices to increase by 0.6 percent.

Core producer prices, which exclude prices for food, energy and trade services, inched up by 0.1 percent in September after rising by 0.3 percent in August. Core prices were expected to climb by 0.4 percent.

Compared to the same month a year ago, producer prices surged by 8.6 percent in September compared to an 8.3 percent spike in August.

Meanwhile, the annual rate of growth in core producer prices slowed to 5.9 percent in September from 6.3 percent in August.

Semiconductor stocks have moved sharply higher in morning trading, with the Philadelphia Semiconductor Index surging up by 2.4 percent.

The strength in the semiconductor sector comes after Taiwan chip giant TSMC's (TSM) quarterly profit beat expectations.

Significant strength has also emerged among steel stocks, as reflected by the 2.3 percent jump by the NYSE Arca Steel Index. The index has reached its best intraday level in almost a month.

Computer hardware stocks have also shown a strong move to the upside, driving the NYSE Arca Computer Hardware Index up by 1.9 percent.

Housing, natural gas and chemical stocks are also seeing notable strength, moving higher along with most of the other major sectors.

In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region moved mostly higher during trading on Thursday. Japan's Nikkei 225 Index jumped by 1.5 percent, while Australia's S&P/ASX 200 Index climbed by 0.5 percent.

The major European markets have also moved to the upside on the day. While the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index has advanced by 0.9 percent, the German DAX Index and the French CAC 40 Index are both up by 1.3 percent.

In the bond market, treasuries are extending the upward trend seen over the past few sessions. As a result, the yield on the benchmark ten-year note, which moves opposite of its price, is down by 2.1 basis points at 1.528 percent.

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