Stocks have moved sharply higher over the course of the trading day on Friday, adding to the gains posted in the previous session. The continued advance on the day has lifted the major averages to their best intraday levels in over a month.
The major averages have seen further upside in recent trading, reaching new highs for the session. The Dow is up 222.59 points or 0.8 percent at 28,648.10, the Nasdaq is up 132.66 points or 1.2 percent at 11,553.64 and the S&P 500 is up 32.67 points or 1 percent at 3,479.50.
Continued optimism about a new stimulus bill is contributing to the strength on Wall Street, as traders keep a close eye on the latest developments in Washington.
In a post on Twitter, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s deputy chief of staff Drew Hammill said the Democratic leader spoke with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin for 40 minutes on Thursday.
“Their conversation focused on determining whether there is any prospect of an imminent agreement on a comprehensive bill,” Hammill said. “The Secretary made clear the President’s interest in reaching such an agreement.”
Hammill said Pelosi trusts Mnuchin speaks for President Donald Trump even though White House Communications Director Alyssa Farah contradicted that assertion.
Farah told reporters that Trump wants a “skinny package” that is limited to stimulus checks, small business loans and an “airline bailout.”
Adding to the mixed messages from the White House, Trump recently tweeted, “Covid Relief Negotiations are moving along. Go Big!”
Meanwhile, traders have shrugged off Comments from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who said a new relief bill is “unlikely” to pass before the elections.
“I’d like to see us rise above [politics] like we did back in March and April, but I think that’s unlikely in the next three weeks,” McConnell said.
Gold stocks continue see substantial strength in mid-day trading, resulting in a 2.4 percent jump by the NYSE Arca Gold Bugs Index.
The rally by gold stocks comes amid a substantial increase by the price of the precious metal, with gold for December delivery soaring $30.80 to $1,925.90 an ounce.
Software and networking stocks are also seeing considerable strength on the day, contributing to the notable advance by the tech-heavy Nasdaq.
Significant strength also remains visible among semiconductor stocks, as reflected by the 1.7 percent gain being posted by the Philadelphia Semiconductor Index. The index reached a record high in early trading.
Xilinx (XLNX) is posting a standout gain after a report from the Wall Street Journal said Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) is in advanced talks to buy the rival chipmaker in a deal that could be valued at more than $30 billion.
Retail, airline, and pharmaceutical stocks are also seeing notable strength on the day, moving higher along with most of the other major sectors.
In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region turned in a mixed performance during trading on Friday. Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index edged down by 0.1 percent, while China’s Shanghai Composite Index jumped by 1.7 percent.
Meanwhile, the major European markets all moved to the upside on the day. While the German DAX Index inched up by 0.1 percent, the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index and the French CAC 40 Index both climbed by 0.7 percent.
In the bond market, treasuries have pulled back into negative territory in recent trading. Subsequently, the yield on the benchmark ten-year note, which moves opposite of its price, is up by 2.2 basis points at 0.787 percent.
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