Stocks have moved mostly higher over the course of the trading day on Friday, extending the strong upward move seen over the three previous sessions. The major averages have all moved to the upside after turning in a mixed performance early in the session.
Currently, the major averages are all in positive territory, although the Nasdaq is outperforming its counterparts. While the Nasdaq is up 191.08 points or 1.4 percent at 13,805.86, the S&P 500 is up 27.33 points or 0.6 percent at 4,439.00 and the Dow is up 72.81 points or 0.2 percent at 34,553.57.
The markets continue to benefit from recent upward momentum, with the major averages recovering from the sell-off sparked by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
The tech-heavy Nasdaq had ended Monday’s trading at its lowest closing level in over a year, while the S&P 500 finished the day just above the nearly nine-month closing low set last Tuesday.
Traders are also keeping an eye on the latest developments in the Russia-Ukraine war, as ongoing peace talks have thus far failed to yield a breakthrough.
President Joe Biden spoke with Chinese President Xi Jinping about the conflict this morning, with Biden expected to deliver a warning that Beijing will pay a price if it supports Russia’s war effort.
In U.S. economic news, the National Association of Realtors released a report showing a sharp pullback in U.S. existing home sales in the month of February.
NAR said existing home sales plunged by 7.2 percent to an annual rate of 6.02 million in February after surging by 6.6 percent to a revised rate of 6.49 million in January.
Economists had expected existing home sales to tumble by 6.2 percent to a rate of 6.10 million from the 6.50 million originally reported for the previous month.
The steeper than expected pullback came after existing home sales reached their highest annual rate in a year in January.
A separate report from the Conference Board showed its U.S. leading economic index rose by slightly more than expected in the month of February.
The Conference Board said its leading economic index increased by 0.3 percent in February after falling by a revised 0.5 percent in January.
Economists had expected the leading economic index to edge up by 0.2 percent compared to the 0.3 percent drop originally reported for the previous month.
Airline stocks have moved sharply higher over the course of the session, with the NYSE Arca Airline Index soaring by 2.2 percent.
Significant strength also remains visible among tobacco stocks, as reflected by the 2.1 percent jump by the NYSE Arca Tobacco Index.
Semiconductor stocks have also shown a strong move to the upside, driving the Philadelphia Semiconductor Index up by 1.6 percent.
Computer hardware, networking and biotechnology stocks have also moved notably higher, contributing to the rally by the tech-heavy Nasdaq.
In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region moved mostly higher during trading on Friday. Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index advanced by 0.7 percent, while China’s Shanghai Composite Index jumped by 1.1 percent.
The major European markets also moved to the upside over the course of the session. While the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index rose by 0.3 percent, the German DAX Index edged up by 0.2 percent and the French CAC 40 Index inched up by 0.1 percent.
In the bond market, treasuries have moved higher after ending the previous session roughly flat. As a result, the yield on the benchmark ten-year note, which moves opposite of its price, is down by 4.3 basis points at 2.149 percent.
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