(RTTNews.com) - After an initial move to the upside, stocks have remained mostly higher over the course of morning trading on Wednesday. The major averages are all in positive territory following the mixed performance seen in the previous session.
Currently, the major averages are holding on to notable gains. The Dow is up 275.33 points or 1.1 percent at 24,855.29, the Nasdaq is up 61.61 points or 0.9 percent at 7,089.90 and the S&P 500 is up 13.83 points or 0.5 percent at 2,653.83.
The early strength on Wall Street partly reflected a positive reaction to earnings news from big-name companies like Boeing (BA) and Apple ( AAPL ).
Shares of Boeing are significantly higher after the aerospace giant reported better than expected fourth quarter results and provided upbeat guidance for full-year 2019.
Tech giant Apple has also shown a strong move to the upside after reporting fiscal first quarter results that exceeded analyst estimates, including substantial growth in its services business.
Traders have also reacted positively to comments from Apple CEO Tim Cook, who expressed optimism about U.S.-China trade talks.
On the U.S. economic front, payroll processor ADP released a report showing the pace of private sector job growth slowed in January but still far exceeded analyst estimates.
ADP said private sector employment jumped by 213,000 jobs in January after soaring by a downwardly revised 263,000 jobs in December.
Economists had expected employment to increase by about 178,000 jobs compared to the spike of 271,000 jobs originally reported for the previous month.
"The job market weathered the government shutdown well," said Mark Zandi, chief economist of Moody's Analytics.
"Despite the severe disruptions, businesses continued to add aggressively to their payrolls," he added. "As long as businesses hire strongly the economic expansion will continue on."
Meanwhile, a separate report from the National Association of Realtors unexpectedly showed a continued decrease in U.S. pending home sales in the month of December.
NAR said its pending home sales index tumbled by 2.2 percent to 99.0 in December after falling by 0.9 percent to a downwardly revised 101.2 in November. Economists had expected the index to climb by 0.5 percent.
A pending home sale is one in which a contract was signed but not yet closed. Normally, it takes four to six weeks to close a contracted sale.
Steel stocks have moved sharply higher amid optimism about U.S.-China trade talks, resulting in a 2.8 percent spike by the NYSE Arca Steel Index.
Significant strength is also visible among semiconductor stocks, with Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) posting a standout gain after the chip maker reported mixed fourth quarter results but President and CEO Lisa Su said she expects strong sales growth in 2019.
Tobacco and software stocks have also moved notably higher, while a steep drop by Juniper Networks (JNPR) is weighing on the networking sector.
The sell-off by Juniper comes after the networking equipment maker reported weaker than expected fourth quarter revenue and forecast lower first quarter sales due to continued weakness with cloud customers.
In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region turned in a mixed performance during trading on Wednesday. Japan'sNikkei 225 Index fell by 0.5 percent, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index rose by 0.4 percent.
The major European markets have also turned mixed on the day. While the German DAX Index has fallen by 0.7 percent, the French CAC 40 Index is up by 0.5 percent and the U.K.'sFTSE 100 Index is up by 1.4 percent.
In the bond market, treasuries are seeing modest weakness after moving higher over the two previous sessions. Subsequently, the yield on the benchmark ten-year note, which moves opposite of its price, is up by 1.6 basis points at 2.728 percent.
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