Dow Hovering Near Record Intraday High In Mid-Day Trading

After showing a strong move to the upside early in the session, stocks remain mostly positive in mid-day trading on Wednesday. With the upward move on the day, the Dow has reached a new record intraday high.

Currently, the Dow is hovering near its best levels of the day, while the Nasdaq has pulled back well off its highs of the session. The Dow is up 399.65 points or 1.3 percent at 32,232.39, the Nasdaq is up 74.53 points or 0.6 percent at 13,148.36 and the S&P 500 is up 29.04 points or 0.8 percent at 3,904.48.

The early strength on Wall Street came following the release of a Labor Department report showing tame consumer price inflation in the month of February.

Concerns about inflation have contributed to the recent spike in bond yields, which has resulted in considerable volatility on Wall Street in recent sessions.

Bond yields pulled back near the unchanged line following the release of the inflation data after moving modestly higher earlier this morning.

The Labor Department said its consumer price index climbed by 0.4 percent in February after rising by 0.3 percent in January. The increase in prices matched expectations.

Gasoline prices led the way higher once again, surging up by 6.4 percent in February following a 7.4 percent spike in January.

Excluding food and energy prices, core consumer prices inched up by 0.1 percent in February after coming in unchanged for two straight months. Economists had expected core prices to rise by 0.2 percent.

On an annual basis, consumer price growth accelerated to 1.7 percent in February from 1.4 percent in January but core price growth slowed to 1.3 percent from 1.4 percent.

Buying interest may also have been generated in reaction to a report from NBC News indicating the U.S. plans to buy 100 million additional doses of Johnson & Johnson’s (JNJ) Covid-19 vaccine.

This afternoon, trading may be impacted by reaction to the results of the Treasury Department’s auction of $38 billion worth of ten-year notes. Demand for the auction could have a notable impact on bond yields.

Traders are also likely to keep an eye on developments in Washington, with the Democrat-controlled House expected to pass the $1.9 trillion relief bill.

Sector News

Energy stocks continue to see considerable strength in mid-day trading even though the price of crude oil has turned lower. Crude for April delivery is currently falling $0.46 to $63.55 a barrel.

Reflecting the strength in the energy sector, the Philadelphia Oil Service Index is up by 3.5 percent, the NYSE Arca Natural Gas Index is up by 2.6 percent and the NYSE Arca Oil Index is up by 1.5 percent.

Significant strength is also visible among housing stocks, as reflected by the 2.6 percent jump by the Philadelphia Housing Sector Index.

Toll Brothers (TOL) is posting a standout gain after the luxury homebuilder announced a 54 percent increase in its quarterly dividend to $0.17 per share.

Chemical, financial and telecom stocks are also seeing notable strength on the day, while some weakness has emerged among semiconductor stocks.

Other Markets

In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region turned in another mixed performance during trading on Wednesday. Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index closed just above the unchanged line, while China’s Shanghai Composite Index edged down by 0.1 percent.

Meanwhile, European stocks moved mostly higher on the day. The French CAC 40 Index jumped by 1.1 percent and the German DAX Index advanced by 0.7 percent, although the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index bucked the uptrend and closed marginally lower.

In the bond market, treasuries have moved modestly higher over the course of the session. As a result, the yield on the benchmark ten-year note, which moves opposite of its price, is down by 1.9 basis points at 1.527 percent.

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