U.S. stocks rose on Monday in mid-day trading after manufacturers reported better than expected earnings this morning.
After leading the rally yesterday on bullish manufacturing reports, stocks of commodities-related firms are losing steam today as they struggle to keep pace with the broader market's gains.
Rising stocks include those of big banks and defense contractors. Retail stocks are generally declining, with the exception of rising home improvement retail shares.
The S&P 500 Index is up 10.50 points, or 0.96 percent to reach 1,099.68 points at 12:53 p.m. EST. The Dow Jones Industrial Average is up 86 points, or 0.84 percent to 10,271.53.
The top gainers of the S&P 500 are mostly manufacturers that beat earnings expectations this morning. Lexmark (NYSE:LXK), Emerson (NYSE:EMR), and Cummins (NYSE:CMI) are all up at least 7 percent. Although home appliances maker Whirlpool (NYSE:WHR) missed expectations this morning, it is still up 8.15 percent.
The basic materials sector is struggling today after having a stellar session yesterday, when some of its leading stocks gained over 7 percent. British oil giant BP (NYSE:BP) plunged 2.77 percent after it missed estimates. Dow Chemical (NYSE:DOW) beat expectations but is trading down 1.43 percent.
Fertilizer giants Potash (NYSE:POT) and Mosaic (NYSE:MOS) are mostly down, and AK Steel (NYSE:AKS) and U.S. Steel (NYSE:X), after leading the market rally yesterday, are up modestly.
Wall Street firms are generally trading higher ahead of White House adviser Paul Volcker's testimony, schedule at 2:30 pm.
Volcker, who wants fundamentally change the structure of big banks by restricting them from principal trading activities, will testify before the Senate Banking Committee today. He wrote in The New York Times yesterday that there is no substitute for structural change.
Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS), which derived nearly $34 billion of its $45 billion 2009 net revenues from trading and investments, is up 1.63 percent. JPMorgan (NYSE:JPM) is up 2.12 percent and Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS) lags with a gain of 0.87 percent.
European banks are surging ahead of their U.S. counterparts as Barclays (NYSE:BCS), Deutsche Bank (NYSE:DB), and Credit Suisse (NYSE:CS) are each up over 2.50 percent.
Retail stocks such as Wal-Mart (NYSE:WMT) and Macy's (NYSE:M) have fluctuated in trading today, with shares now up 0.21 percent and 0.94 percent respectively after earlier declines.
The index for the pending sales of used homes rose 1 percent in December, which matched the median forecast according to a survey conducted by Bloomberg.
Home improvement stocks were higher as Home Depot (NYSE:HD) gained 1.55 percent and Lowe's (NYSE:LOW) gained 2.00 percent.
A few defense contractors also gained today. Lockheed Martin (NYSE:LMT) is up 2.08 percent and Raytheon (NYSE:RTN) over 3.19 percent.
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