Stocks Seeing Modest Strength Following Early Downward Move - U.S. Commentary

By RTT News, 
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(RTTNews.com) - After seeing initial weakness, stocks have moved mostly higher over the course of the trading day on Wednesday. With the turnaround on the day, the S&P 500 has offset the modest loss posted in the previous session to reach a new record intraday high.

Currently, the major averages are all in positive territory, although the Dow is up only 2.33 points or less than a tenth of a percent at 16,724.67. The Nasdaq is up 15.07 points or 0.4 percent at 4,249.15, while the S&P 500 is up 2.47 points or 0.1 percent at 1,926.71.

The early weakness on Wall Street was partly due to the release of a report from payroll processor ADP showing that the pace of private sector job growth slowed more than expected in May.

ADP said private sector employment rose by 179,000 jobs in May following an increase of 215,000 jobs in April. Economists had been expecting an increase of about 210,000 jobs.

The weaker than expected private sector job growth raised some concerns about Friday's jobs report from the Labor Department, which includes both private and public sector jobs.

The Commerce Department also released a report showing that the U.S. trade deficit widened by much more than expected in April amid a drop in the value of exports and an increase in the value of imports.

However, stocks staged a recovery following the release of a separate report from the Institute for Supply Management showing that its index of activity in the sector rose by more than economists had anticipated in the month of May.

The ISM said its non-manufacturing index climbed to 56.3 in May from 55.2 in April, with a reading above 50 indicating growth in the service sector. Economists had been expecting the index to show a more modest increase to a reading of 55.5.

With the bigger than expected increase, the non-manufacturing index rose to its highest level since reaching 57.9 in August of 2013.

Nonetheless, traders remain reluctant to make any significant moves ahead of the European Central Bank meeting on Thursday and the release of the closely watched U.S. jobs report on Friday.

Sector New

While most of the major sectors are showing only modest moves, considerable strength remains visible among biotechnology stocks. The NYSE Arca Biotechnology Index has risen by 1.3 percent to its best intraday level in two months.

Exact Sciences ( EXAS ) has helped to lead the biotech sector higher, with the molecular diagnostics company surging up by 4.3 percent.

Brokerage, airline, and retail stocks are also seeing some strength in mid-day trading, while telecom stocks are seeing moderate weakness.

Other Markets

In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region moved mostly lower on Wednesday. Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index and Australia's All Ordinaries Index both fell by 0.6 percent. However, Japan's Nikkei 225 Index bucked the downtrend and inched up by 0.2 percent.

Meanwhile, the major European markets ended the day on opposite sides of the unchanged line. While the German DAX Index crept up by 0.1 percent, the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index dipped by 0.3 percent and the French CAC 40 Index edged down by 0.1 percent.

In the bond market, treasuries have moved modestly lower, extending the recent pullback off last week's highs. Subsequently, the yield on the benchmark ten-year note, which moves opposite of its price, is up by 1.8 basis points at 2.611 percent.

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This article appears in: News Headlines

Referenced Stocks: EXAS

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