U.S. Stocks Mostly Positive In Afternoon Trading

Stocks have moved mostly higher over the course of the trading day on Wednesday, partly offsetting the decline seen to start the week. The major averages have all moved to the upside, with the tech-heavy Nasdaq leading the advance.

In recent trading, the major averages have reached new highs for the session. The Dow is up 218.91 points or 0.6 percent at 34,439.27, the Nasdaq is up 215.28 points or 1.6 percent at 13,586.85 and the S&P 500 is up 34.05 points or 0.8 percent at 4,431.50.

The strength on Wall Street may partly reflect bargain hunting following the downturn seen over the course of the previous session.

The pullback extended the downward trend for the markets seen throughout much of late March and early April, with the Nasdaq and the S&P 500 falling to their lowest closing levels in almost a month.

Stocks may also be benefiting from a continued decrease by treasury yields, with the ten-year yield pulling back further off the three-year closing high set on Monday.

The drop by treasury yields comes even though the Labor Department released a report showing U.S. producer prices surged by more than expected in the month of March.

The Labor Department said its producer price index for final demand shot up by 1.4 percent in March after advancing by an upwardly revised 0.9 percent in February.

Economists had expected producer prices to jump by 1.1 percent compared to the 0.8 percent increase originally reported for the previous month.

Energy prices led the way higher, skyrocketing by 5.7 percent during the month, while food prices also spiked by 2.4 percent.

With the bigger than expected monthly increase, the annual rate of producer price growth accelerated to a record high 11.2 percent in March from 10.3 percent in February.

Sector News

Airline stocks continue to see substantial strength in afternoon trading, with the NYSE Arca Airline Index soaring by 4.5 percent.

Delta Air Lines (DAL) has helped lead the sector higher after reporting a narrower than expected first quarter loss and providing upbeat guidance.

Considerable strength has also emerged among gold stocks, as reflected by the 2.4 percent jump by the NYSE Arca Gold Bugs Index.

The rally by gold stocks comes as the price of gold for June delivery is climbing $8.70 to $1,984.80 an ounce.

Biotechnology stocks are also turning in a strong performance on the day, resulting in a 2.1 percent gain by the NYSE Arca Biotechnology Index.

Semiconductor, steel and housing stocks are also seeing notable strength, moving higher along with most of the other major sectors.

Other Markets

In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region turned in another mixed performance during trading on Wednesday. Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index jumped by 1.9 percent, while China’s Shanghai Composite Index slid by 0.8 percent.

The major European markets also finished the day mixed. While the German DAX Index fell by 0.3 percent, the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index and the French CAC 40 Index both inched up by 0.1 percent.

In the bond market, treasuries are extending the rebound seen in the previous session. Subsequently, the yield on the benchmark ten-year note, which moves opposite of its price, is down by 4.3 basis points at 2.682 percent.

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