Stocks have shown a strong upward move over the course of morning trading on Wednesday, with the major averages offsetting the losses posted in the previous session. The rebound comes as traders react to some much better than expected economic data.
Earlier in the day, the Commerce Department released a report revealing that durable goods orders unexpectedly showed a substantial increase in the month of February after falling in each of the six previous months.
The report showed that durable goods orders jumped 3.4 percent in February after falling by a revised 7.3 percent in January. Economists had been expecting durable goods orders to fall by 2.5 percent compared to the 4.5 percent decrease that had been reported for the previous month.
Excluding the impact of orders for transportation equipment, durable goods orders jumped 3.9 percent for the month, compared to expectations of a 2.0 percent decline.
The Commerce Department also released a separate report showing an unexpected in increase in new home sales in the month of February, continuing a recent string of better than expected housing market reports.
The report showed that new home sales rose 4.7 percent to an annual rate of 337,000 in February from an upwardly revised January rate of 322,000. The results surprised economists, who had been expecting sales to fall to 300,000 from the 309,000 originally reported for the previous month.
Additionally, industry data released earlier showed that mortgage application volume rose over 32 percent last week, as low mortgage rates on the heels of the Fed's decision to buy Treasury securities encouraged both the purchase and refinancing of mortgages.
In other news, speaking at his second televised news conference from the White House on Tuesday, President Obama said he was confident that the people would have patience and recognize that the economy is more like an ocean liner than a speedboat and takes time to change course.
Facing criticism from Capitol Hill that his proposed spending plans are too ambitious for a time of economic crisis, Obama sought to portray his budget proposal as a key element of the nation's economic recovery.
Obama said his budget sought to bring about broad economic growth by moving from an era in which we borrow and spend to one of saving and investing.
In recent trading, the major markets have moved well off their best levels of the day, although they are holding onto strong gains. The Dow is currently up 148.46 at 7,808.43, the Nasdaq is up 26.03 at 1,542.55 and the S&P 500 is up 15.07 at 821.32.
Reflecting broad based strength in the markets, most of the major sectors have shown strong moves to the upside over the course of the morning.
Some of the biggest advances are coming out of the housing sector, as investors react to the better than expected data. The Philadelphia Housing Index is posting a gain of 7.6 percent so far, climbing to its highest level in a month and a half.
Banking stocks are also posting considerable gains on the day, with the Kbw Bank Index up 6.6 percent. Fifth Third Bancorp (FITB), Regions Financial (RF), and Bank of America (BAC) are turning in some of the sector's best performances.
Additionally, semiconductor stocks are also seeing significant strength with the Philadelphia Semiconductor Index up 4.1 percent, led by an 11.5 percent gain by Advance Micro Devices (AMD).
Among semiconductor stocks, Linear Technologies (LLTC) is also showing a strong upward move, rising 4.1 percent following an upgrade to Overweight from Market Weight at Thomas Weisel.
Airline, real estate, and brokerage stocks are also posting notable gains. The Amex Airline Index is up 5.1 percent, while the Morgan Stanley REIT Index and the Amex Securities Broker/Dealer Index are up 3.9 percent and 3.4 percent, respectively.
Stocks Driven By Analyst Comments
PepsiCo (PEP) is showing a gain of 2 percent following an upgrade. The major soft drink producer was lifted to Buy from Neutral at UBS. With the advance, the stock has climbed to its highest level in over a month.
Meanwhile, Salesforce.com (CRM) is suffering a loss of 3.5 percent on the day after being downgraded to Underweight at Morgan Stanley. Analysts feel that there are risks to billing growth for the company, while operating metrics are deteriorating and cash flow is falling.
In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific market turned in a mixed performance on Wednesday. While Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 Index edged down 0.1 percent, South Korea's KOSPI rose 0.6 percent.
Meanwhile, the major European markets have all climbed back above the unchanged line after some earlier weakness. The U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index is up 0.1 percent, while the French CAC 40 Index and the German DAX Index are posting gains of 1.3 percent and 1.2 percent, respectively.
In the bond market, treasuries are posting notable losses on the day and are holding near their intraday lows. Subsequently, the yield on the benchmark 10-year note is up 8.7 basis points at 2.741 percent.
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