RTTNews - While buying interest has waned from earlier in the session, stocks are seeing continued strength in late morning trading on Wednesday. The major averages have moved off their best levels of the day but remain firmly in positive territory.

The markets are benefiting from a positive reaction to a slew of economic data, including reports showing a slower pace of contraction in manufacturing activity as well a slowdown in the pace of job losses in the private sector.

Gold stocks are posting particularly strong gains, with an increase by the price of the precious metal contributing to the strength in the sector. With gold for August delivery up $11.80 at $939.20 an ounce, the NYSE Arca Gold Bugs Index is currently up 4.4 percent.

While most of the other major sectors have also moved higher over the course of the morning, significant strength is visible among semiconductor, healthcare provider, networking, and transportation stocks. On the other hand, some biotech stocks are bucking the uptrend.

The major averages have given back some ground in recent trading, although they are holding onto strong gains. The Dow is currently up 104.22 at 8,551.22, the Nasdaq is up 22.65 at 1,857.69 and the S&P 500 is up 9.62 at 928.94.

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