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U.S. Stocks Remain Firmly Positive In Afternoon Trading

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Stocks have fluctuated after an early move to the upside but have maintained a positive bias throughout the trading session on Thursday. With the upward move, the major averages are adding to the strong gains posted in the two previous sessions.

Currently, the major averages all remain firmly positive. The Dow is up 185.26 points or 0.6 percent at 32,714.89, the Nasdaq is up 167.92 points or 1.4 percent at 12,330.51 and the S&P 500 is up 43.77 points or 1.1 percent at 4,116.20.

The continued strength on Wall Street partly reflects a largely positive reaction to the latest batch of earnings news from big-name companies.

Shares of Amazon (AMZN) are moving sharply higher after the online retail giant reported better than expected second quarter revenues and provided upbeat guidance.

Tech giant Apple (AAPL) has also shown a strong move to the upside after reporting fiscal third quarter results that exceeded analyst estimates on both the top and bottom lines.

On the other hand, shares of Intel (INTC) have come under pressure after the semiconductor giant reported weaker than expected second quarter results and provided disappointing guidance for the current quarter.

A steep drop by Procter & Gamble (PG) is also limiting the upside for the Dow after the consumer products giant reported fiscal fourth quarter earnings that missed analyst estimates and forecast results for fiscal 2023 below expectations.

Meanwhile, traders have largely shrugged off a report from the Commerce Department showing an acceleration in the pace of consumer price growth.

The report showed the annual rate of growth by the personal consumption expenditures price index accelerated to 6.8 percent in June from 6.3 percent in May, showing the fastest growth since January 1982.

The annual rate of growth by core consumer prices, which exclude food and energy prices, also accelerated to 4.8 percent in June from 4.7 percent in May.

The inflation data, which is said to be preferred by the Federal Reserve, was included in a report showing personal income increased by slightly more than expected in the month of June.

Sector News

Retail stocks continue to see substantial strength on the upbeat earnings news from Amazon, driving the Dow Jones U.S. Retail Index up by 4.4 percent to its best intraday level in almost three months.

Substantial strength also remains visible among energy stocks, which are surging along with the price of crude oil. Crude for September delivery has pulled back off its highs but remains up by $2.76 at $99.18 a barrel.

Reflecting the strength in the energy sector, the Philadelphia Oil Service Index and the NYSE Arca Oil Index are both up by 3.1 percent.

Energy giants Exxon Mobil (XOM) and Chevron (CVX) are posting strong gains after reporting better than expected quarterly earnings.

Steel, financial and utilities are also seeing considerable strength on the day, while tobacco and pharmaceutical stocks are bucking the uptrend.

Other Markets

In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region turned in a mixed performance on Friday. Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index plunged by 2.3 percent and Japan's Nikkei 225 Index edged down by 0.1 percent, while Australia's S&P/ASX 200 Index advanced by 0.8 percent.

Meanwhile, the major European markets all showed strong moves to the upside on the day. While the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index jumped by 1.1 percent, the German DAX Index and the French CAC 40 Index surged up by 1.5 percent and 1.7 percent, respectively.

In the bond market, treasuries are extending the upward trend seen over the past several sessions. As a result, the yield on the benchmark ten-year note, which moves opposite of its price, is down by 4.1 basis points at 2.640 percent.

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