Markets

Mid-Day Update: Calm Restored To Wall Street as White House Says Powell, Mnuchin Jobs Safe; Retailers Rally on Strong Holiday Sales

Wall Street's major averages were trading higher on Wednesday after a four-day losing streak left the Dow Jones Industrial Average at its lowest point all year. Assurances by President Donald Trump that stocks were a bargain and that Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Fed Chairman Jerome Powell's jobs were safe helped restore calm to Wall Street, driving the blue chip index more than 500 points higher. Fueled by strength in the retail sector on the heels of upbeat holiday sales data, the Standard and Poor's 500 was in the green for only the second time in nearly two weeks.

Wednesday was shaping up to be repeat of last Friday when early gains were faded and the Dow relinquished a 300+ point gain. The major indices briefly dipped into the red until White House economic adviser Kevin Hassett calmed nervous investors, stating that Powell's job was "100 percent safe." This came on the heels of similar assurances from Trump about the Fed and Mnuchin.

But while investor's appetite for risk improved on Trump's encouragement to buy the dip, shell-shocked market participants continue to pour into safe-havens with gold more than $8 higher to a 6-month high, and the 10-year yield backing up another basis point to 2.75%.

On the economic front, home prices improved 0.4% in October according to a monthly survey from Case-Shiller, while the Richmond Fed manufacturing index plunged to negative 8 in December from 14 the month prior, its biggest monthly decline on record.

European markets were still closed for the Christmas holiday.

Crude oil was up $2.78 to $45.31 per barrel. Natural gas was down $0.01 to $3.45 per 1 million BTU. Gold was up $3.50 $1,275.30 an ounce, while silver was up $0.36 to $15.17 an ounce. Copper was up $0.05 to $2.71per pound.

Among energy ETFs, the United States Oil Fund was up 3.98% to $9.66 with the United States Natural Gas Fun down 3.65% to $28.24. Among precious-metal funds, the Market Vectors Gold Miners ETF was down 0.48% to 20.85 while SPDR Gold Shares were up 0.23% to $120.30. The iShares Silver Trust was up 2.18% to $14.17.

Here's where the markets stand at mid-day:

US MARKETS

NYSE Composite Index was up 174.66 points (+1.61%) to 10,943.69

Dow Jones Industrial Index was up 548.24 points (+2.51%) to 22,338.44

S&P 500 was up 61.74 points (+2.60%) to 2,412.82

Nasdaq Composite Index was up 183.78 points (+3.47%) to 6,411.95

GLOBAL SENTIMENT

FTSE 100 was closed

DAX was closed

CAC 40 was closed

Nikkei 225 was up 171.32 points (+0.89%) to 19,327.06

Hang Seng Index was closed

Shanghai China Composite Index was down 6.53 points (-0.26%) to 2,498.29

NYSE SECTOR INDICES

NYSE Energy Sector Index was up 194.00 points (+2.20%) to 9,008.90

NYSE Financial Sector Index was up 80.53 points (+1.22%) to 6,691.29

NYSE Healthcare Sector Index was up 230.02 points (+1.61%) to 14,478.25

UPSIDE MOVERS

(+) CHK (+18.50%) Chairman acquires another 2.1 mln shares

(+) SFET (+10.95%) Received purchase order for Software Defined Access solution

(+) NBEV (+9.32%) Completed merger with Morinda Holdings

(+) ROKU (+7.23%) Named Needham's top pick for 2019

DOWNSIDE MOVERS

(-) CAPR (-18.40%) Halted trial for CAP-1002 after severe allergic reaction was reported

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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