By RTT News, October 11, 2013, 12:03:00 PM EDT
(RTTNews.com) - After initially showing a lack of direction, stocks have moved mostly higher over the course of the trading day on Friday. The gains on the day are extending the substantial upward move that was seen in the previous session.
The major averages have seen some further upside in recent trading, reaching new highs for the session. The Dow is up 70.71 points or 0.5 percent at 15,196.78, the Nasdaq is up 21.70 points or 0.6 percent at 3,782.44 and the S&P 500 is up 7.01 points or 0.4 percent at 1,699.57.
The extension of yesterday's rally is partly due to continued optimism about lawmakers finally making progress toward resolving the latest fiscal crisis in Washington.
A meeting between President Barack Obama and the House Republican leadership on Thursday seems to have helped change the tone of the debate, potentially breaking the deadlock.
In a statement released following the meeting, the GOP leadership described the conversation as "useful and productive" but noted that no final decisions were made.
Ahead of the meeting, House Republicans proposed temporarily raising the debt ceiling to avoid default and allow time for negotiations.
While Obama is said to be willing to accept a temporary increase in the debt limit, he continues to push for legislation that would also end the ongoing government shutdown.
According to reports, Obama told the House GOP leadership to return to their members and find out what needs to be done to reach an agreement to end the shutdown.
Today, the president is meeting with Senate Republicans regarding the need to reopen the government and raise the debt ceiling.
On the economic front, Thomson Reuters and the University of Michigan released a report showing that U.S. consumer sentiment has continued to deteriorate in the month of October.
The report showed that the preliminary reading on the consumer sentiment index for October came in at 75.2 compared to the final September reading of 77.5. With the decrease, the consumer sentiment index fell for the third consecutive month and hit its lowest level since January.
However, Rob Carnell, chief international economist at ING, noted, "From a market perspective, this is a mildly encouraging data release, given that it could have been considerably worse."
Among individual stocks, shares of JP Morgan (JPM) are nearly flat even after the financial giant reported adjusted third quarter earnings that exceeded analyst estimates
Housing stocks have shown a strong move to the upside over the course of the session, driving the Philadelphia Housing Sector Index up by 1.4 percent. With the gain, the index is climbing further off the one-month closing low it set on Wednesday.
KB Home ( KBH ) and Lennar ( LEN ) are turning in two of the housing sector's best performances, rising by 2.1 percent and 2 percent, respectively.
Notable strength has also emerged among airline stocks, as reflected by the 1.3 percent gain being posted by the NYSE Arca Airline Index. Spirit Airlines ( SAVE ) is leading the sector higher, surging up by 9.8 percent after reporting a 28.8 percent year-over-year jump in September passenger traffic.
Tobacco, trucking, and natural gas stocks are also seeing some strength on the day, while most of the other major sectors have shown more modest moves to the upside.
On the other hand, gold stocks have come under substantial selling pressure, with the NYSE Arca Gold Bugs Index falling by 2.2 percent. The weakness in the sector comes as gold for December delivery is tumbling $29.50 to $1,267.40 an ounce.
In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region moved sharply higher following the overnight rally on Wall Street. Japan's Nikkei 225 Index surged up by 1.5 percent, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index jumped by 1.2 percent.
The major European markets also moved to the upside on the day. While the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index advanced by 0.9 percent, the German DAX Index rose by 0.5 percent and the French CAC 40 Index inched up by less than a tenth of a percent.
In the bond market, treasuries continue to see modest strength but have pulled back off their best levels. Subsequently, the yield on the benchmark ten-year note, which moves opposite of its price, is down by 2.2 basis points at 2.663 percent.
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