RTTNews - Stock are extending their stay in positive territory in early afternoon trading on Monday, as largely positive earnings results and news from commercial lender CIT Group (CIT) has prompted buying interest. Despite a mixed report on leading economic indicators that deflated some optimism, the major averages are all in positive territory.

The Conference Board released a report showing that its index of leading economic indicators increased by more than expected in June, although both the coincident index and lagging index continued to decline.

Earlier this morning, some trader concern regarding the bankruptcy of CIT Group was alleviated, as the lending giant reportedly secured $3 billion in financing from some of its largest bondholders.

In earnings news, Halliburton Co. (HAL), M&T Bank Corp. (MTB), Hasbro (HAS) and Johnson Controls (JCI) all reported quarterly results that largely exceeded Wall Street expectations, bolstering trader optimism.

This afternoon, some traders may look to Atlanta Federal Reserve Bank President Dennis Lockhart's speech on the economic outlook, set to take place at the Rotary Club of Nashville at 1:30 p.m. ET.

The major averages have moved to the upside in recent trading, recovering from the mid-morning pullback precipitated by the report from the Conference Board. The Dow is currently up 62.80 at 8,806.74, the Nasdaq is up 14.07 at 1,900.68 and the S&P 500 is up 6.19 at 946.57.

Sector News

Considerable strength has emerged among airline stocks, as reflected by the 4.6 percent gain being shown by the NYSE Arca Airline Index. With the upward move, the index has reached its best intra-day level in well over two months.

Gold and steel stocks also continue to turn in strong performances, with the NYSE Arca Gold Bugs Index and the NYSE Arca Steel Index posting gains of 3.8 percent and 2.7 percent, respectively. Gold stocks are being helped by a surge in the price of the precious metal on the NYMEX, where it has jumped by $12.20 to $949.70 an ounce.

While real estate, railroad, brokerage and internet stocks are also moving notably higher, health insurance and tobacco stocks continue to buck the day's uptrend.

Stocks In The News

Orexigen Therapeutics (OREX) is rising in early afternoon trading after the firm announced that all three remaining Phase 3 trials evaluating Contrave (bupropion SR/naltrexone SR), its investigational drug for the treatment of obesity, met their co-primary endpoints. The stock has surged up by 21.6 percent, reaching its best intraday level in well over seven months.

Shares of PetMed Express (PETS) are also advancing after the firm's second quarter profit and sales figures beat analyst estimates. The stock is up by 3.5 percent after reaching its best intraday price in over six months earlier in the session.

Meanwhile, East West Bancorp Inc. (EWBC) is sliding after the company commenced a public offering of 11 million shares of its common stock. Shares of the commercial bank are down by 4.9 percent amid concern over share dilution.

In Focus: Leading Economic Indicators, Earnings

As mentioned above, the Conference Board report showed that the leading indicators index increased by 0.7 percent in June following an upwardly revised 1.3 percent increase in May. Economists had expected the index to increase by 0.5 percent compared to the 1.2 percent increase originally reported for the previous month.

In earnings news, oilfield service provider Halliburton reported second quarter net income of $0.29 per share, down from $0.55 per share in the same period last year. The results surpassed the Wall Street forecast of $0.27 per share.

M&T Bank revealed second-quarter net income of $0.36 per share, compared to $1.44 per share in the same quarter of last year. The earnings fell short of analyst expectations, which called for earnings of $0.48 per share.

Hasbro announced an adjusted second quarter net income of $0.26 per share, compared to $0.25 per share in last year quarter. Analysts expected the firm to earn $0.23 per share.

Meanwhile, Texas Instruments (TXN), Boston Scientific Corporation (BSX), and Legg Mason (LM) are scheduled to report after the markets close.

Other Markets

In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region closed on the upside Monday, with Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index surging up by 3.7 percent while South Korea's benchmark KOSPI Index posted a gain of 2.7 percent.

The major European markets also closed notably higher, with the German DAX Index and the French CAC 40 Index finishing up by 1 percent and 1.6 percent, respectively. The U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index also rose, posting a 1.3 percent gain on the day.

In the bond markets, treasuries are treading near the unchanged mark. Subsequently, the yield on the benchmark ten-year note is trading at 3.653 percent, posting a gain less than a basis point.

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