U.S. Stocks Move Mostly Higher, Extending Yesterday's Rally

wallstreet aug13 23nov22 lt

Stocks have moved mostly higher in morning trading on Wednesday, extending the rally seen over the course of the previous session. The Dow has inched up to its best intraday level in over three months, while the S&P 500 has reached a two-month intraday high.

In recent trading, the Nasdaq and S&P 500 reached new highs for the session. Currently, the Dow is up 78.00 points or 0.2 percent at 34,176.10, the Nasdaq is up 111.25 points or 1.0 percent at 11,285.66 and the S&P 500 is up 21.40 points or 0.5 percent at 4,024.98.

The strength on Wall Street may partly reflect a positive reaction to a slew of U.S. economic data, including a Commerce Department report showing new orders for manufactured durable goods jumped by much more than expected in the month of October.

The report said durable goods orders shot up by 1.0 percent in October after rising by a downwardly revised 0.3 percent in September.

Economists had expected durable goods orders to climb by 0.4 percent, matching the increase that had been reported for the previous month.

Excluding a surge in orders for transportation equipment, durable goods orders rose by 0.5 percent in October after slumping by 0.9 percent in September. Ex-transportation orders were expected to be unchanged.

A separate Commerce Department report unexpectedly showed a substantial rebound in new home sales in the month of October.

The Commerce Department said new home sales spiked by 7.5 percent to an annual rate of 632,000 in October after plunging by 11.0 percent to a revised rate of 588,000 in September.

The sharp increase came as a surprise to economists, who had expected new home sales to tumble by 5.5 percent to a rate of 570,000 from the 603,000 originally reported for the previous month.

Meanwhile, the Labor Department released a report showing first-time claims for U.S. unemployment benefits increased by more than expected in the week ended November 19th.

The report said initial jobless claims rose to 240,000, an increase of 17,000 from the previous week's revised level of 223,000. Economists had expected jobless claims to inch up to 225,000 from the 222,000 originally reported for the previous week.

With the bigger than expected increase, jobless claims reached their highest level since hitting 245,000 in the week ended August 13th.

Traders are also looking ahead to the release of the minutes of the Federal Reserve's latest monetary policy meeting later in the day.

The Fed's early November meeting was conducted before the recent release of tamer-than-expected inflation data, but traders are still likely to look to the minutes for confirmation the central bank plans to slow the pace of interest rate hikes as soon as next month.

Semiconductor stocks are turning in a strong performance on the day, resulting in a 1.7 percent jumped by the Philadelphia Semiconductor Index.

Significant strength has also emerged among airline stocks, as reflected by the 1.6 percent gain being posted by the NYSE Arca Airline Index.

Tobacco and computer hardware stocks are also seeing considerable strength on the day, while energy stocks are pulling back sharply along with the price of crude oil.

With crude for January delivery plunging $3.88 to $77.07 a barrel, the Philadelphia Oil Service Index is down by 2.8 percent and the NYSE Arca Oil Index is down by 1.7 percent.

In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region moved mostly higher on Wednesday, with the Japanese markets closed for a holiday. China's Shanghai Composite Index rose by 0.3 percent, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index climbed by 0.6 percent.

Meanwhile, the major European markets are turning in a mixed performance on the day. While the German DAX Index is down by 0.2 percent, the French CAC 40 Index is nearly unchanged and the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index is up by 0.2 percent.

In the bond market, treasuries are currently in positive territory after seeing significant volatility. Subsequently, the yield on the benchmark ten-year note, which moves opposite of its price, is down by 3.9 basis points at 3.719 percent.

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