(RTTNews.com) - Stocks have moved mostly higher in morning trading on Thursday following the pullback seen late in the previous session. With the upward move on the day, the tech-heavy Nasdaq has reached another new record intraday high.
Currently, the major averages are all in positive territory, although the Nasdaq is outperforming its counterparts. While the Nasdaq is up 51.34 points or 0.7 percent at 7,747.04, the Dow is up 27.12 points or 0.1 percent at 25,228.32 and the S&P 500 is up 7.64 points or 0.3 percent at 2,783.27.
The strength on Wall Street comes following the release of some upbeat economic data, including a report from the Commerce Department showing a much bigger than expected increase in retail sales in the month of May.
The Commerce Department said retail sales jumped by 0.8 percent in May after climbing by an upwardly revised 0.4 percent in April.
Economists had expected retail sales to rise by 0.4 percent compared to the 0.3 percent increase originally reported for the previous month.
Excluding sales by motor vehicle and parts dealers, retail sales still surged up by 0.9 percent in May following a 0.4 percent increase in April. Ex-auto sales had been expected to climb by 0.5 percent.
A separate report from the Labor Department unexpectedly showed a modest decrease in initial jobless claims in the week ended June 9th.
The report said initial jobless claims edged down to 218,000, a decrease of 4,000 from the previous week's unrevised level of 222,000. Economists had expected initial jobless claims to inch up to 224,000.
Traders are also digesting the European Central Bank's highly anticipated monetary policy announcement, with the ECB revealing plans to wind down its massive bond-buying program.
The ECB said it plans to reduce the monthly pace of its net asset purchases to 15 billion from 30 billion after September before completely ending the program at the end of December.
Meanwhile, the ECB left interest rates unchanged and said it expects rates to remain at their present levels at least through the summer of 2019.
"The ECB's announcement that it will end its asset purchases in December is probably a little bolder than markets had expected, but this is tempered by the pledge to keep interest rates on hold for more than a year," said Jennifer McKeown, Chief European Economist at Capital Economics.
Despite the strength being shown by the broader markets, most of the major sectors are showing only modest moves in morning trading.
Gold stocks are seeing notable strength, however, with the NYSE Arca Gold Bugs Index climbing by 1 percent. The strength in the sector comes as the price of gold for August delivery is rising $5.50 to $1,306.80 an ounce.
Biotechnology and semiconductor stocks have also moved to the upside, contributing to the advance by the tech-heavy Nasdaq.
In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region moved to the downside during trading on Thursday. Japan's Nikkei 225 Index slumped by 1 percent, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index dropped by 0.9 percent.
Meanwhile, the major European markets have moved sharply higher following the ECB announcement. While the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index has advanced by 0.9 percent, the French CAC 40 Index and the German DAX Index are jumping by 1.5 percent and 1.7 percent, respectively.
In the bond, treasuries are rebounding following the pullback seen later in the previous session. As a result, the yield on the benchmark ten-year note, which moves opposite of its price, is down by 3.1 basis points at 2.946 percent.
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