Stocks have moved mostly higher in morning trading on Wednesday, with technology stocks leading the advance. The tech-heavy Nasdaq has shown a strong move to the upside, while the S&P 500 has also climbed firmly into positive territory.
Currently, the Nasdaq is up 229.58 points or 1.8 percent at 13,274.97 and the S&P 500 is up 24.94 points or 0.6 percent at 3,983.49. Meanwhile, the narrower Dow has shown a lack of direction and is up just 5.35 points or less than a tenth of a percent at 33,072.31.
The strength among technology stocks may be partly due to window dressing on the final day of the first quarter, as the Nasdaq has underperformed the Dow and the S&P 500.
For the quarter, the Dow and the S&P 500 ended Tuesday’s trading up by 8 percent and 5.4 percent, respectively, and recently set new record closing highs.
The Nasdaq is well off its record highs set in February and was up by just 1.2 percent for the quarter as of the close of the previous session.
A report from payroll processor ADP showing strong private sector job growth in the month of March has also generated some positive sentiment.
ADP said private sector employment surged up by 517,000 jobs in March after climbing by an upwardly revised 176,000 jobs in February.
Economists had expected employment to jump by 550,000 jobs compared to the addition of 117,000 jobs originally reported for the previous month.
The increase in private sector employment in March reflected the strongest job growth since the spike of 821,000 jobs seen last September.
On Friday, the Labor Department is scheduled to release its more closely watched monthly jobs report, which includes both public and private sector jobs.
Economists currently expect employment to jump by 639,000 jobs in March after climbing by 379,000 jobs in February. The unemployment rate is expected to drop to 6.0 percent from 6.2 percent.
Meanwhile, traders are also reacting to the details of President Joe Biden’s infrastructure and economic recovery plan.
The plan calls for spending approximately $2 trillion over eight years, with the proposal including investments in transportation infrastructure and accelerating the transition to clean energy.
To pay for the plan, Biden has called for raising the corporate tax rate to 28 percent from 21 percent, which is likely to face intense opposition from Republican lawmakers.
Semiconductor stocks are turning in some of the market’s best performances on the day, resulting in a 2 percent jump by the Philadelphia Semiconductor Index.
Biotechnology and software stocks are also seeing considerable strength, contributing to the sharp increase by the tech-heavy Nasdaq.
Notable strength is also visible among steel stocks, as reflected by the 1.2 percent gain being posted by the NYSE Arca Steel Index.
Cleveland-Cliffs (CLF) has helped lead the sector higher after the steel producer provided upbeat guidance for the first quarter and full year.
Gold stocks have also moved back to the upside along with the price of the precious metal, while airline stocks are giving back ground.
In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region moved mostly lower during trading on Wednesday. Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index slumped by 0.9 percent, while China’s Shanghai Composite Index slid by 0.4 percent.
The major European markets have also moved to the downside on the day. While the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index has fallen by 0.6 percent, the French CAC 40 Index is down by 0.4 percent and the German DAX Index is down by 0.1 percent.
In the bond market, treasuries have shown a lack of direction over the course of the morning. As a result, the yield on the benchmark ten-year note, which moves opposite of its price, is down by less than a basis point at 1.721 percent.
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