U.S. Stocks Move Mostly Higher Following Upbeat Consumer Confidence Data

After initially showing a lack of direction, stocks have moved mostly higher over the course of morning trading on Wednesday. With the upward move, the major averages are adding to the strong gains posted in the previous session.

Currently, the major averages are just off their highs of the session. The Dow is up 156.54 points or 0.4 percent at 35,649.24, the Nasdaq is up 105.60 points or 0.7 percent at 15,446.68 and the S&P 500 is up 29.47 points or 0.6 percent at 4,678.70.

The strength that has emerged on Wall Street may partly reflect a positive reaction to the latest U.S. economic data, including a report from the Conference Board showing consumer confidence improved by much more than expected in the month of December.

The report showed the consumer confidence index climbed to 115.8 in December from an upwardly revised 111.9 in November.

Economists had been expecting the consumer confidence index to inch up to 110.7 from the 109.5 originally reported for the previous month.

Lynn Franco, Senior Director of Economic Indicators at The Conference Board, noted concerns about both inflation and Covid-10 declined despite reports of continued price increases and the emergence of the Omicron variant.

A slew of U.S. economic data is scheduled to be released on Thursday, including reports on weekly jobless claims, durable goods orders, personal income and spending, and new home sales.

Traders will be looking to get a head start on the Christmas weekend but are still likely to keep an eye on the data for clues about the economic outlook.

Housing stocks have shown a notable move to the upside on the day, driving the Philadelphia Housing Sector Index up by 1.4 percent.

The strength among housing starts comes after the National Association of Realtors released a report showing existing home sales climbed to a ten-month high in November.

NAR said existing home sales jumped 1.9 percent to an annual rate of 6.46 million in November after climbing by 0.8 percent to a rate of 6.34 million in October.

Airline stocks are also extending the rally seen in the previous session, with the NYSE Arca Airline Index rising by 1 percent after soaring by 5.3 percent on Tuesday.

Most of the other major sectors are showing more modest moves, although some strength is visible among pharmaceutical and natural gas stocks.

In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region moved mostly higher during trading on Wednesday. Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index edged up by 0.2 percent, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index climbed by 0.6 percent.

The major European markets have also moved to the upside on the day. While the French CAC 40 Index has advanced by 0.8 percent, the German DAX Index is up by 0.5 percent and the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index is up by 0.2 percent.

In the bond market, treasuries have given back ground after an early advance but remain positive. As a result, the yield on the benchmark ten-year note, which moves opposite of its price, is down by 2 basis points at 1.467 percent.

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