Stocks have shown a strong move to the upside in morning trading on Wednesday, extending the substantial rebound seen over the course of the previous session. The major averages have all climbed firmly into positive territory, with the tech-heavy Nasdaq once again leading the way higher.
Currently, the major averages are hovering near their best levels of the day. The Dow is up 456.17 points or 1.4 percent at 34,000.51, the Nasdaq is up 380.75 points or 2.9 percent at 13,329.36 and the S&P 500 is up 80.05 points or 1.9 percent at 4,342.50.
The markets continue to benefit from bargain hunting, as stocks remain at relatively reduced levels even after the rebound seen on Tuesday.
The Nasdaq continues to outperform its counterparts after the index ended Monday’s trading at its lowest closing level in over a year.
Optimism about a potential diplomatic solution to the ongoing Russia-Ukraine conflict has also generated additional buying interest.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said during an address to the nation that the positions in the negotiations were beginning to “sound more realistic,” while Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told the BBC there was “some hope of reaching a compromise.”
Indications China is willing to provide more support for the slowing economy has also helped ease concerns about the global economic outlook.
On the U.S. economic front, the Commerce Department released a report showing a modest increase in retail sales in the month of February.
The Commerce Department said retail sales rose by 0.3 percent in February after soaring by an upwardly revised 4.9 percent in January.
Economists had expected retail sales to increase by 0.4 percent compared to the 3.8 percent spike originally reported for the previous month.
Excluding sales by motor vehicle and parts dealers, retail sales edged up by 0.2 percent in February after surging by 4.4 percent in January. Ex-auto sales were expected to advance by 0.9 percent.
Airline stocks are extending the rally seen in the previous session, driving the NYSE Arca Airline Index up by 4.9 percent.
A continued increase in treasury yields is also contributing to strength among financial stocks, with the NYSE Arca Broker/Dealer Index and the KBW Bank Index spiking by 4.8 percent and 3.8 percent, respectively.
Significant strength is also visible among semiconductor stocks, as reflected by the 4.3 percent jump by the Philadelphia Semiconductor Index. The index continues to recover from the nearly ten-month closing low set on Monday.
Chipmaker Micron Technology (MU) has helped to lead the sector higher after Bernstein upgraded its rating on the company’s stock to Outperform from Underperform.
Steel, computer hardware, chemical and biotechnology stocks are also seeing considerable strength, while oil service, gold and utilities stocks have moved to the downside.
In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region moved sharply higher during trading on Wednesday. Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index jumped by 1.6 percent, China’s Shanghai Composite Index spiked by 3.5 percent and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index skyrocketed by 9.1 percent.
The major European markets have also shown substantial moves to the upside on the day. While the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index has shot up by 1.7 percent, the German DAX Index and the French CAC 40 Index are surging by 4.2 percent and 4.4 percent, respectively.
In the bond market, treasuries are seeing modest weakness ahead of the Fed’s monetary policy announcement. Subsequently, the yield on the benchmark ten-year note, which moves opposite of its price, is up by 1.4 basis points at 2.174 percent.
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