Stocks Remain Mostly Positive In Mid-Day Trading - U.S. Commentary

By RTT News, 
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(RTTNews.com) - With traders reacting positively to upbeat U.S. economic data, stocks remain mostly positive in mid-day trading on Tuesday. The S&P 500 reached a new record intraday high, although lingering valuation concerns have limited the upside for the markets.

The major averages have recently pulled back off their best levels but are holding on to gains. While the Nasdaq is up 29.41 points or 0.7 percent at 4,398.08, the Dow is up 18.91 points or 0.1 percent at 16,956.17 and the S&P 500 is up 4.06 points or 0.2 percent at 1,966.67.

The strength on Wall Street comes following the release of a pair of much better than expected economic reports, including a Commerce Department report showing that new home sales jumped to a six-year high in May.

The report said new home sales soared 18.6 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 504,000 in May after rising 3.7 percent to a revised rate of 425,000 in April. Economists had expected sales to climb to a rate of 440,000.

With the much bigger than expected increase, new home sales reached their highest level since hitting a matching rate in May of 2008.

Additionally, the Conference Board released a report showing that its reading on consumer confidence rose by much more than expected in the month of June.

The Conference Board said its consumer confidence index jumped to 85.2 in June from a revised 82.2 in May, reaching its highest level since January of 2008.

Economists had expected the consumer confidence index to edge up to 83.5 from the 83.0 originally reported for the previous month.

While the data has generated some positive sentiment, uncertainty about whether the economy will continue to support further upside for the markets has helped to keep buying interest somewhat subdued.

Among individual stocks, shares of Vertex Pharmaceuticals ( VRTX ) have surged up by 41 percent after the company reported successful trials of its cystic fibrosis treatment.

Chip maker Micron Technology ( MU ) has also moved to the upside after reporting third quarter earnings and revenues that came in above analyst estimates.

On the other hand, shares of Walgreen (WAG) have moved lower after the drug store operator reported weaker than expected third quarter results.

Sector News

Housing stocks have moved notably higher on the day, benefiting from the upbeat new home sale data. Reflecting the strength in the housing sector, the Philadelphia Housing Sector Index has surged up by 1.6 percent.

Hovnanian ( HOV ), Ryland Group ( RYL ), and D.R. Horton ( DHI ) are turning in some of the housing sector's best performances on the day.

Internet, computer hardware, and semiconductor stocks have also moved higher, contributing to the advance by the tech-heavy Nasdaq.

Meanwhile, gold stocks have come under considerable selling pressure, dragging the NYSE Arca Gold Bugs Index down by 1.8 percent. The index is pulling back off the three-month closing high set on Monday.

Other Markets

In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region moved mostly higher during trading on Tuesday. Japan's Nikkei 225 Index inched up by 0.1 percent, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index rose by 0.3 percent.

Meanwhile, the major European markets turned in a mixed performance on the day. While the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index edged down by 0.2 percent, the German DAX Index and the French CAC 40 Index crept up by 0.2 percent and 0.1 percent, respectively.

In the bond market, treasuries are seeing modest strength despite the upbeat economic data. Subsequently, the yield on the benchmark ten-year note, which moves opposite of its price, is down by 1.9 basis points at 2.604 percent.

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This article appears in: News Headlines

Referenced Stocks: DHI , HOV , MU , RYL , VRTX

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