The U.S. stock market is trading in positive territory in the afternoon session with banks leading the rally after investors shrug off concerns of global tightening.
The S&P 500 Index is up 0.11 percent, or 1.25 points, to trade at 1,110.42 at 3:10 pm EST. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 4.23 points or 0.04 percent to trade at 10,406.58. The Dow Jones U.S. Financials Index is up 1.22 percent.
Big American banks are up with Bank of America (NYSE:BAC) gaining 2.90 percent, Wells Fargo (NYSE:WFC) gaining 2.30 percent, and JPMorgan gaining 2.47 percent.
Shares of U.K. banks traded on the New York Stock Exchange are also performing well. The American Depository Receipts (ADRs) of Royal Bank of Scotland (NYSE:RBS) are up 3.82 percent and those of Lloyds Banking Group (NYSE:LYG) are up 2.85 percent.
According to Gavin Maguire, a Special Situation Analyst from Briefing.com, European banks have been oversold and because of the solid earnings season so far, investors are looking to scoop up bargains like Royal Bank of Scotland and Lloyds Banking Group before they actually release earnings.
RBS will release earnings on February 25 and Lloyds will release its earnings on February 26.
Also, banks in general benefited as investors shrugged of jitters of the Fed discount rate hike last week and now view the move as as a vote of confidence in the financials.
Firms in the Health insurance business are also trading up as President Obama's healthcare reform plans encounter stiff resistance. Aetna (NYSE:AET) is up 1.55 percent and UnitedHealth Group (NYSE:UNH) is up 3.41 percent.
David Camp, a House Republican, said the President's proposal is not a serious attempt to address the concerns the American people have expressed about the Democrats' bills and does not truly include important policy changes Republicans have been pushing to address them.
Obama will participate in a televised healthcare summit on Thursday in an effort to gather bipartisan support.
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