U.S. Stocks Remain Mostly Positive In Afternoon Trading

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After an early move to the upside, stocks remain mostly positive in afternoon trading on Monday. With the upward move, the major averages are partly offsetting the steep losses posted last week.

Currently, the major averages are all in positive territory, with the Dow posting a standout gain. While the Dow is up 305.89 points or 0.9 percent at 33,782.35, the S&P 500 is up 24.40 points or 0.6 percent at 3,958.78 and the Nasdaq is up 41.20 points or 0.4 percent at 11,045.82.

The strength on Wall Street comes as traders look to pick up stocks at relatively reduced levels following the notable decline seen in the previous week.

Last week, the Dow tumbled by 2.8 percent, ending last Friday's trading at its lowest closing level in a month, while the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq plunged by 3.4 percent and 4.0 percent, respectively.

Overall trading activity remains somewhat subdued, however, as traders look ahead to the Federal Reserve's monetary policy decision on Wednesday.

While the Fed is widely expected to slow the pace of interest rate hikes to 50 basis points, traders have recently expressed concerns about how much further the Fed will need to raise rates in order to contain inflation.

Traders are likely to pay close attention to the Fed's accompanying statement, although a lot of key data will be released before the next meeting in late January/early February.

Sector News

Energy stocks continue to see substantial strength recent following recent weakness, with a rebound by the price of crude oil contributing to the strength in the sector.

With crude for January delivery surging $2.14 to $73.16 a barrel, the Philadelphia Oil Service Index is up by 3.2 percent, the NYSE Arca Oil Index is up by 1.8 percent and the NYSE Arca Natural Gas Index is up by 1.7 percent.

Considerable strength also remains visible among transportation stocks, as reflected by the 2.3 percent jump by the Dow Jones Transportation Average.

Airline, computer hardware and utilities stocks have also shown strong moves to the upside, while tobacco, gold and steel stocks have moved notably lower.

Other Markets

In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region moved mostly lower during trading on Monday. Japan's Nikkei 225 Index edged down by 0.2 percent, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index slumped by 2.2 percent.

The major European markets also moved to the downside on the day. While the German DAX Index slid by 0.5 percent, the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index and the French CAC 40 Index both fell by 0.4 percent.

In the bond market, treasuries moved lower after the course of the session after seeing early strength. As a result, the yield on the benchmark ten-year note, which moves opposite of its price, is up by less than a basis point at 3.571 percent after hitting a low of 3.521 percent.

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