After moving sharply higher early in the session, stocks have given back some ground over the course of the trading day on Friday. The major averages have pulled back well off their highs, with the Nasdaq briefly dipping into negative territory.
Currently, the major averages are posting notable gains. The Dow is up 338.44 points or 1.4 percent at 25,466.61, the Nasdaq is up 97.76 points or 1 percent at 9,590.48 and the S&P 500 is up 34.25 points or 1.1 percent at 3,036.35.
The early strength on Wall Street partly reflected bargain hunting, as traders looked to pick up stocks at relatively reduced levels following the sell-off seen in the previous session.
The steep drop on Thursday marked the worst day for the markets since the sell-off seen as worries about the coronavirus began to escalate in March.
Worries about a second wave of coronavirus infections contributed to the sharp losses in the previous session even as Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin told CNBC the U.S. “can’t shut down the economy again.”
The sell-off on Thursday largely offset the gains seen earlier this month, although the major averages remain well off their March lows.
Adding to the positive sentiment, the University of Michigan released a report showing a continued rebound in U.S. consumer sentiment in the month of June.
The preliminary report showed the consumer sentiment index for June climbed to 78.6 from 72.3 in May and 71.8 in April. Economists had expected the index to rise 75.0.
Surveys of Consumers chief economist Richard Curtin said the increase by the index reflected gains in the outlook for personal finances and more favorable prospects for the national economy due to the reopening of the economy.
Meanwhile, a separate report from the Labor Department showed a bigger than expected jump in U.S. import prices in the month of May.
The Labor Department said import prices surged up by 1.0 percent in May after plunging by 2.6 percent in April. Economists had expected import prices to increase by 0.6 percent.
The rebound in import prices came as fuel prices spiked by 20.5 percent in May following the 31.0 percent nosedive in the previous month.
The report also showed a rebound in export prices, which climbed by 0.5 percent in May after tumbling by 3.3 percent in April. Export prices were expected to rise by 0.6 percent.
Despite the pullback by the broader markets, steel stocks continue to see significant strength in mid-day trading. The NYSE Arca Steel Index has pulled back off its best levels but remains up by 4.2 percent.
Considerable strength also remains visible among energy stocks, although they have pulled back well off their highs amid a down turn by the price of crude oil. Crude for July delivery is currently slipping $0.18 to $36.16 a barrel.
Reflecting the strength in the energy sector, the Philadelphia Oil Service Index is up by 3.4 percent and the NYSE Arca Oil Index is up by 2.3 percent.
Transportation stocks are also holding on to strong gains, as reflected by the 2.4 percent advance by the Dow Jones Transportation Average.
Networking, housing and commercial real estate stocks also continue to see notable strength, although most stocks have pulled back well off the early highs.
In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region moved mostly lower during trading on Friday. Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index slid by 0.8 percent, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index fell by 0.7 percent.
Meanwhile, the major European markets turned in a mixed performance on the day. While the German DAX Index dipped by 0.2 percent, the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index and the French CAC 40 Index both rose by 0.5 percent.
In the bond market, treasuries are giving back ground after moving sharply higher over the past few sessions. As a result, the yield on the benchmark ten-year note, which moves opposite of its price, is up by 4.2 basis points at 0.695 percent.
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