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U.S. Stocks Extending Upward Move As Stimulus Optimism Persists

After moving mostly higher over the two previous sessions, stocks are seeing further upside in morning trading on Friday. With the continued upward move, the major averages have once again reached their best intraday levels in over a month.

Currently, the major averages are all in positive territory, although the Nasdaq is outperforming its counterparts. While the Nasdaq is up 104.58 points or 0.9 percent at 11,525.56, the Dow is up 78.72 points or 0.3 percent at 28,504.23 and the S&P 500 is up 16.78 points or 0.5 percent at 3,463.61.

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.”

The mixed messages from the White House have led to some uncertainty about the prospects for a new relief package, keeping buying interest somewhat subdued.

Comments from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell have also partly offset the positive sentiment, as the Republican leader said a new relief bill is “unlikely” to pass before the elections.

Gold stocks have moved sharply higher in morning trading, driving the NYSE Arca Gold Bugs Index up by 3.2 percent.

The rally by gold stocks comes amid a substantial increase by the price of the precious metal, with gold for December delivery soaring $39 to $1,934.10 an ounce.

Significant strength is also visible among semiconductor stocks, as reflected by the 1.3 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.

Software and networking stocks are also seeing considerable strength on the day, contributing to the notable advance by the tech-heavy Nasdaq.

On the other hand, energy stocks are giving back ground following yesterday’s rally, with a modest pullback by the price of crude oil weighing on the sector.

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.

The major European markets have also turned mixed on the day. While the German DAX Index has dipped by 0.2 percent, the French CAC 40 Index is up by 0.5 percent and the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index is up by 0.6 percent.

In the bond market, treasuries have climbed back near the unchanged line after seeing early weakness. Subsequently, the yield on the benchmark ten-year note, which moves opposite of its price, is down by less than a basis point at 0.762 percent.

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