While buying interest has remained somewhat subdued, stocks continue to see modest strength in mid-day trading on Thursday. The major averages have all moved higher after ending the previous session on opposite sides of the unchanged line.
In recent trading, the major averages have given back some ground, but they remain in positive territory. The Dow is up 51.09 points or 0.3 percent at 20,710.41, the Nasdaq is up 6.32 points or 0.1 percent at 5,903.87 and the S&P 500 is up 5.35 points or 0.2 percent at 2,366.48.
The modest strength on Wall Street comes following the release of a report from the Commerce Department showing stronger than previously estimated economic growth in the fourth quarter of 2016.
The report said real GDP climbed by 2.1 percent in the fourth quarter compared to the previously reported 1.9 percent increase. Economists had expected the pace of GDP growth to be upwardly revised to 2.0 percent.
Despite the upward revision, the GDP growth in the fourth quarter still reflects a notable slowdown from the 3.5 percent jump seen in the third quarter.
The Commerce Department said the stronger than previously estimated growth primarily reflected upward revisions to consumer spending and private inventory investment.
A separate report from the Labor Department showed a modest drop in initial jobless claims in the week ended March 25th.
The report said initial jobless claims edged down to 258,000, a decrease of 3,000 from the previous week’s 261,000. Economists had expected jobless claims to decline to 247,000.
However, traders seem somewhat reluctant to make more significant moves amid continued uncertainty about the outlook for President Donald Trump’s policy agenda.
The failure of the Republican healthcare bill has raised concerns about Trump’s ability to achieve other policy goals such as tax reform and increased infrastructure spending.
Banking stocks continue to see considerable strength in mid-day trading, with the Dow Jones Banks Index advancing by 1.4 percent. The index is climbing further off the two-month closing low it set last Wednesday.
Cullen/Frost Bankers (CFR) and SVB Financial (SIVB) are turning in two of the banking sector’s best performances on the day.
Significant strength has also emerged among railroad stocks, as reflected by the 1.2 percent gain being posted by the Dow Jones Railroads Index. Genesee & Wyoming (GWR) and Kansas City Southern (KSU) are posting notable gains.
On the other hand, gold stocks have shown a notable move to the downside, dragging the NYSE Arca Gold Bugs Index down by 1 percent.
The weakness in the gold sector comes amid a decrease by the price of the precious metal, with gold for June delivery sliding $5.10 to $1,251.70 an ounce.
In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region moved mostly lower during trading on Thursday. Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index slid by 0.8 percent, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index fell by 0.4 percent.
Meanwhile, the major European markets turned in a mixed performance. While the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index edged down by 0.1 percent, the German DAX Index and the French CAC 40 Index both rose by 0.4 percent.
In the bond market, treasuries have shown a modest move to the downside on the day. Subsequently, the yield on the benchmark ten-year note, which moves opposite of its price, is up by 2.1 basis points at 2.407 percent.
by RTT Staff Writer
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