Mid-Day Update: Stocks Lifted By Strong U.S. Economic Data, Italian Bond Auction Results

Stocks are trading higher at mid-day after stronger-than-expected economic data lifted spirits in what is shaping up to be another thinly traded session.

The Institute for Supply Management-Chicago's index of Midwest business activity was higher than expected in December, up at 62.5 against an expected 61, and pending sales of existing homes surged 7.3% to 100.1 in November, offering more signs of a tentative housing recovery.

Over in Europe, encouraging bond auction results out of Italy boosted sentiment somewhat; the country sold another round of government bonds Thursday, with yields falling for 2014 and 2022 debt, news reports said.

Italy raised a total of around 7 billion euros ($9 billion) of various bonds. The government had planned to raise between 5 billion and 8.5 billion euros, MarketWatch reported.

Italy paid a yield of 5.62% to sell new three-year debt, down sharply from 7.89% in an auction last month, Reuters reported, while 10-year bonds were sold at a yield of 6.98%, down from 7.56% in a late November auction.

In company news:

Yahoo ( YHOO ) is up 1.8% at $16.06 a share on reports's efforts to buy the company are moving forward. China's has hired Washington lobbying firm Duberstein Group Inc. as it seeks a deal with Yahoo, Reuters reported Wednesday, citing a filing. Japan's Softbank Corp. is also listed as an Alibaba affiliate in the lobbying firm's disclosure, according to the filing, Reuters reported.

JA Solar ( JASO ) is up 4.5% after it said it entered into an agreement with Solarhybrid AG, a Germany-based project developer and general contractor for utility-scale solar power projects, to supply 19 MW of solar modules to Solarhybrid's Allstedt I solar power plant in Halle, Germany. JA Solar is the exclusive solar module supplier to the project.

Commodities are lower. February gold contracts are down $31.40 to $1,532.70 an ounce, while February crude oil contracts are down $0.70 to $98.66 a barrel.

In energy ETFs, the United States Oil Fund ( USO ) is down 0.60% to $38.13 and the United States Natural Gas fund ( UNG ) is down 3.7% at new year lows.

In precious metal ETFs, the SPDR Gold Trust ( GLD ) is down 1.2% to $149.28. Market Vectors Gold Miners (GDX) is up 0.5% to $50.33. iShares Silver Trust (SLV) is down 7 cents at $26.18, having earlier hit new year lows.

Here's where markets stand at mid-day:

-NYSE up 60.40 (0.82%) to 7,457.39

-DJIA up 103.12 (0.85%) to 12,254.53

-S&P 500 up 10.12 (0.81%) to 1,259.76

-Nasdaq up 18.31 (0.71%) to 2,608.29


Nikkei down 0.29%.

Hang Seng down 0.65%.

Shanghai Composite up 0.16%.

FTSE-100 up 1.08%.


NYSE Energy up 0.86% at 12,353.87

NYSE Financial up 1.31% at 4,063.48

NYSE Health Care up 0.66% at 7,034.67

NYSE Arca Tech 100 up 0.68% at 1,078.58


(+)YHOO, (+1.8%) Alibaba's Efforts to Buy Yahoo Move Forward

(+)LNKD, (+1.3%) Initiated with a Buy at Collins Stewart

(+)NWSA, (+2%) Upgraded to Top Pick from Outperform at RBC Capital


(-)MOS, (-1.1%) To Cut Phosphate Production Through March 2012

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

Copyright (C) 2016 All rights reserved. Unauthorized reproduction is strictly prohibited.

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

More Related Articles

Sign up for Smart Investing to get the latest news, strategies and tips to help you invest smarter.