U.S. Stocks Fluctuate But Remain Mostly Positive In Afternoon Trading

After an early move to the upside, stocks have fluctuated over the course of the trading session on Wednesday but largely maintained a positive bias. The major averages are adding to the substantial gains posted in the previous session.

Currently, the Nasdaq is up 27.16 points or 0.2 percent at 14,121.54 and the S&P 500 is up 12.52 points or 0.3 percent at 4,508.22. The narrower Dow reached a new high for the session in recent trading and is currently up 170.07 points or 0.5 percent at 34,997.77.

The continued strength on Wall Street comes as the latest inflation data has added to optimism about the outlook for interest rates.

Before the start of trading, the Labor Department released a report showing an unexpected decrease in U.S. producer prices in the month of October.

The Labor Department said its producer price index fell by 0.5 percent in October after rising by a revised 0.4 percent in September.

Producer prices were expected to inch up by 0.1 percent compared to the 0.5 percent increase originally reported for the previous month.

The report also said the annual rate of producer price growth slowed to 1.3 percent in October from 2.2 percent in September. Economists had expected the pace of price growth to slow to 1.9 percent.

Following yesterday’s tamer than expected consumer price inflation data, the latest report has reinforced expectations that the Federal Reserve is done raising interest rates.

“The Fed will welcome the reprieve, after producer prices recorded a 4.9% annualized gain in Q3, and coupled with yesterday’s CPI report, it bolsters the case for no further rate increases,” said Matthew Martin, U.S. Economist at Oxford Economics.

Meanwhile, a report released by the Commerce Department showed retail sales in the U.S. edged slightly lower in the month of October.

The Commerce Department said retail sales slipped by 0.1 percent in October after jumping by an upwardly revised 0.9 percent in September.

Economists had expected retail sales to dip by 0.3 percent compared to the 0.7 percent increase originally reported for the previous month.

Excluding a decrease in sales by motor vehicle and parts dealers, retail sales inched up by 0.1 percent in October after climbing by 0.8 percent in September. Ex-auto sales were expected to come in unchanged.

Sector News

Airline stocks continue see substantial strength in afternoon trading, resulting in a 2.8 percent jump by the NYSE Arca Airline Index. The index soared to a nearly two-month intraday high earlier in the session.

Considerable strength also remains visible among visible among banking stocks, as reflected by the 1.5 percent gain being posted by the KBW Bank Index.

Tobacco and biotechnology stocks are also seeing notable strength, while oil service and gold stocks have moved to the downside over the course of the session.

Other Markets

In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region moved significantly higher during trading on Wednesday. Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index spiked by 2.5 percent, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index skyrocketed by 3.9 percent.

The major European markets are also seeing further upside on the day. While the French CAC 40 Index has climbed by 0.5 percent, the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index and the German DAX Index are up by 0.8 percent and 0.9 percent, respectively.

In the bond market, treasuries are giving back ground after skyrocketing in the previous session. As a result, the yield on the benchmark ten-year note, which moves opposite of its price, is up 9.8 basis points at 4.539 percent.

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