After showing a notable move to the downside earlier in the session, stocks are regaining some ground in late morning trading on Friday. The major averages have all climbed well off their worst levels of the day.

Steel stocks are helping to lead the way back to the upside, pushing the Amex Steel Index up 5.4 percent to a more than six-month intraday high. The sector may be benefiting from a bigger than expected increase by the Institute for Supply Management's manufacturing index.

The ISM said its index of activity in the sector rose to 40.1 in April from 36.3 in March, with a reading below 50 indicating a contraction in the sector. Economists had been expecting a more modest increase to a reading of 38.4.

Other resource stocks are also moving to the upside along with airline, defense, and brokerage stocks. E*Trade (ETFC) is helping to lead the brokerage sector higher, bouncing well off of its recent lows.

Meanwhile, considerable weakness remains visible among real estate stocks, as reflected by the 1.9 percent loss currently being shown by the Morgan Stanley REIT Index. Trucking, housing, and retail stocks also continue to post notable losses.

The major averages have continued to move higher in recent trading, climbing back above the unchanged line. The Dow is currently up 25.81 at 8,193.93, the Nasdaq is up 0.93 at 1,718.23 and the S&P 500 is up 2.96 at 875.77.