Major Averages Remain Firmly Positive In Mid-Day Trading

After showing a strong move to the upside early in the session, stocks remain mostly positive in mid-day trading on Thursday. The advance on the day has lifted the Nasdaq and the S&P 500 to new record intraday highs.

Currently, the major averages are hovering firmly in positive territory. The Dow is up 242.97 points or 0.7 percent at 34,117.21, the Nasdaq is up 121.39 points or 0.9 percent at 14,393.12 and the S&P 500 is up 22.72 points or 0.5 percent at 4,264.56.

The strength on Wall Street comes as traders look to get back into action after taking a breather on Wednesday, when the major averages spent the day bouncing back and forth across the unchanged line.

The advance on the day reflects a resumption of the upward momentum seen earlier in the week, which helped lift the Dow well off its lowest levels in over two months.

After a brief setback last week, optimism that the Federal Reserve will not prematurely begin tightening monetary policy seems to have led to renewed buying interest.

Positive sentiment may also have been generated in reaction to a Labor Department report showing a modest decrease in first-time claims for U.S. unemployment benefits in the week ended June 19th.

The Labor Department said initial jobless claims edged down to 411,000, a decrease of 7,000 from the previous week’s revised level of 418,000.

Economists had expected jobless claims to drop to 380,000 from the 412,000 originally reported for the previous week.

A separate report from the Commerce Department showed new orders for U.S. manufactured durable goods rebounded in the month of May.

The report said durable goods orders surged up by 2.3 percent in May after falling by a revised 0.8 percent in April.

Economists had expected durable goods orders to spike by 2.7 percent compared to the 1.3 percent slump that had been reported for the previous month.

Excluding orders for transportation equipment, durable goods orders rose by 0.3 percent in May after jumping by 1.7 percent in April. Ex-transportation orders were expected to increase by 0.7 percent.

Sector News

Oil service stocks have moved sharply higher over the course of the session, driving the Philadelphia Oil Service Index up by 1.8 percent.

The rally by oil service stocks comes has the price of crude oil has turned higher after seeing early weakness, with crude for August delivery rising $0.19 to $73.27 a barrel.

Significant strength also remains visible among semiconductor stocks, as reflected by the 1.7 percent gain being posted by the Philadelphia Semiconductor Index.

Steel, banking and pharmaceutical stocks are also seeing notable strength, with Eli Lilly (LLY) leading the pharmaceutical sector higher after the FDA granted Breakthrough Therapy designation for the drug maker’s Alzheimer’s treatment.

Other Markets

In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region turned in a lackluster performance during trading on Thursday. Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index and China’s Shanghai Composite Index both ended the day nearly flat.

Meanwhile, the major European markets moved to the upside on the day. While the French CAC 40 Index jumped by 1.q percent, the German DAX Index advanced by 0.9 percent and the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index rose by 0.5 percent.

In the bond market, treasuries are nearly unchanged after ending the previous session modestly lower. 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 1.490 percent.

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