U.S. Stocks Seeing Further Upside In Afternoon Trading

After moving mostly higher early in the session, stocks have seen further upside over the course of the trading day on Thursday. The major averages have all shown strong upward moves after ending the previous session mixed.

In recent trading, the major averages have reached new highs for the session. The Nasdaq is up 230.99 points or 2.0 percent at 12,085.34, the S&P 500 is up 54.53 points or 1.3 percent at 4,110.52 and the Dow is up 332.60 points or 1.0 percent at 33,634.47.

The rally on Wall Street partly reflects a positive reaction to upbeat earnings news from Facebook parent Meta Platforms (META).

Shares of Meta are spiking by 14.5 percent after the company reported better than expected first quarter results and provided upbeat guidance for the current quarter.

Media conglomerate Comcast (CMCSA) has also moved sharply higher after reporting first quarter earnings that exceeded analyst estimates.

Big-name companies like eBay (EBAY), Honeywell (HON) and American Airlines (AAL) are also posting strong gains after reporting their quarterly results.

Meanwhile, traders have largely shrugged off a Commerce Department report showing U.S. economic growth slowed by much more than expected in the first three months of 2023.

The report said real gross domestic product increased by 1.1 percent in the first quarter after jumping by 2.6 percent in the fourth quarter of 2022. Economists had expected the pace of GDP growth to slow to 2.0 percent.

The Commerce Department said the slowdown in GDP growth primarily reflected a downturn in private inventory investment and a slowdown in non-residential fixed investment.

A separate report from the Labor Department showed first-time claims for U.S. unemployment benefits unexpectedly declined in the week ended April 22nd.

The report said initial jobless claims dipped to 230,000, a decrease of 16,000 from the previous week’s revised level of 246,000.

Economists had expected jobless claims to inch up to 248,000 from the 245,000 originally reported for the previous week.

Sector News

Housing stocks continue to turn in some of the market’s best performances on the day, driving the Philadelphia Housing Sector Index up by 2.3 percent.

The strength in the sector comes despite the release of a report from the National Association of Realtors unexpectedly showing a steep drop in pending home sales in March.

Substantial strength is also visible among transportation stocks, as reflected by the 2.3 percent surge by the Dow Jones Transportation Average. The average is bouncing off its lowest closing level in well over three months.

Retail stocks are also seeing considerable strength in afternoon trading, resulting in a 2.2 percent jump by the Dow Jones U.S. Retail Index.

Software, commercial real estate and telecom stocks are also seeing significant strength, moving higher along with most of the other major sectors.

Other Markets

In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region moved mostly higher during trading on Thursday. Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index edged up by 0.2 percent, while China’s Shanghai Composite Index climbed by 0.7 percent.

Meanwhile, the major European markets are turned in a mixed performance on the day. While the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index fell by 0.3 percent, the German DAX Index closed just above the unchanged line and the French CAC 40 Index crept up by 0.2 percent.

In the bond market, treasuries are seeing notable weakness, extending the pullback seen in the previous session. Subsequently, the yield on the benchmark ten-year note, which moves opposite of its price, is up by 7.9 basis points at 3.511 percent.

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