U.S. Stocks Remain Mostly Positive In Afternoon Trading

After an early move to the upside, stocks remain mostly positive in afternoon trading on Thursday. With the upward move on the day, the major averages are adding to the strong gains posted in the previous session.

Currently, the major averages are hovering in positive territory. The Dow is up 90.74 points or 0.3 percent at 28,394.20, the Nasdaq is up 53.52 points or 0.5 percent at 11,418.12 and the S&P 500 is up 22.07 points or 0.6 percent at 3,441.52.

The strength on Wall Street reflects continued optimism about a coronavirus stimulus bill following the latest comments from President Donald Trump.

In an interview with Maria Bartiromo on Fox Business, Trump said administration officials and Democrats are “starting to have some very productive talks.”

“We started talking again. And we’re talking about airlines and we’re talking about a bigger deal than airlines,” Trump said. “We’re talking about a deal with $1,200 per person, we’re talking about other things.”

Trump abruptly pulled out of negotiations of a new stimulus earlier this week but now says “we have a really good chance of doing something.”

However, stocks gave back some ground after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi rejected the idea of passing a stand-alone bill providing aid to airlines with a broader relief package.

Pelosi also noted that negotiations continue over a broader bill, saying, “We’re at the table. We want to continue the conversation. We’ve made some progress, we’re exchanging language.”

On the U.S. economic front, the Labor Department released a report showing initial jobless claims came in above estimates in the week ended October 3rd.

The Labor Department said initial jobless claims edged down to 840,000, a decrease of 9,000 from the previous week’s revised level of 849,000.

Economists had expected jobless claims to dip to 820,000 from the 837,000 originally reported for the previous week.

“Failure to pass additional fiscal relief measures will lead to more new claims given the announcement of layoffs by many firms,” said Nancy Vanden Houten, Lead U.S. Economist at Oxford Economics. “It also raises the risk that some individuals will lose benefits altogether at the start of 2021.”

Sector News

Oil service stocks continue to see substantial strength in afternoon trading, with the Philadelphia Oil Service Index spiking by 3.2 percent.

The rally by oil service stocks comes amid a sharp increase by the price of crude oil, with crude for November delivery surging up $1.13 to $41.08 a barrel.

Considerable strength also remains visible among computer hardware stocks, as reflected by the 2.1 percent jump by the NYSE Arca Computer Hardware Index.

Housing stocks have also shown a significant move to the upside on the day, driving the Philadelphia Housing Sector Index up by 2.1 percent.

Airline, energy and gold stocks are also seeing notable 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 jumped by 1 percent, while Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index surged up by 1.1 percent.

The major European markets also moved to the upside on the day. While the German DAX Index advanced by 0.9 percent, the French CAC 40 Index and the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index rose by 0.6 percent and 0.5 percent, respectively.

In the bond market, treasuries are seeing modest strength after moving notably lower in the previous session. As a result, the yield on the benchmark ten-year note, which moves opposite of its price, is down by 1 basis point at 0.775 percent.

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