Stocks Hovering In Positive Territory In Mid-Day Trading – U.S. Commentary

After moving to the upside early in the session, stocks remain mostly positive in mid-day trading on Tuesday. With the upward move on the day, the major averages have reached their best intraday levels in two months.

The major averages have moved roughly sideways in recent trading hovering in positive territory. The Dow is up 158.10 points or 0.6 percent at 25,397.47, the Nasdaq is up 45.44 points or 0.6 percent at 7,392.97 and the S&P 500 is up 9.27 points or 0.3 percent at 2,734.14.

Stocks continue to benefit from recent upward momentum, which has helped the markets recover from the sell-off seen in the weeks leading up to Christmas.

Optimism about U.S.-China trade talks has contributed to recent buying interest along with indications the prolonged government shutdown did not have a significant impact on the U.S. economy.

Traders are also reacting to fourth quarter results from Google parent Alphabet (GOOGL), which exceeded analyst estimates on both the top and bottom lines.

However, shares of Alphabet have moved lower amid concerns about a sharp increase in capital spending by the tech giant as well as a drop in advertising prices.

Traders have largely shrugged off a report from the Institute for Supply Management showing activity in the U.S. service sector grew at a slower rate in the month of January.

The ISM said its non-manufacturing index fell to 56.7 in January from an upwardly revised 58.0 in December, although a reading above 50 still indicates growth in the service sector.

Economists had expected the non-manufacturing index to dip to 57.1 from the 57.6 originally reported for the previous month.

With the bigger than expected decrease, the index dropped to its lowest level since a matching reading in July of last year.

“Respondents are concerned about the impacts of the government shutdown but remain mostly optimistic about overall business conditions,” said Anthony Nieves, Chair of the ISM Non-Manufacturing Business Survey Committee.

Despite the continued advance by the broader markets, most of the major sectors are showing only modest moves on the day.

Chemical and software stocks are seeing some strength in mid-day trading, while weakness has emerged among banking stocks.

In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region turned in a mixed performance on Tuesday, with several markets closed for Lunar New Year holidays. Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index slipped by 0.2 percent, while Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index spiked by 2 percent.

Meanwhile, the major European markets moved sharply higher on the day. While the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index surged up by 2 percent, the French CAC 40 Index and the German DAX Index both jumped by 1.7 percent.

In the bond market, treasuries are rebounding following the pullback seen over the two previous sessions. Subsequently, the yield on the benchmark ten-year note, which moves opposite of its price, is down by 1.8 basis points at 2.706 percent.

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