Midday Update: Stocks Capitalize on Geo-Political Calm, Dovish Fed Comments

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Led higher by overseas markets as a result of easing geo-political pressures, U.S. equities are adding to Friday's gains with the tech-heavy Nasdaq outperforming from gains in biotech and chipmaker stocks. Investors' appetite for riskier assets was rekindled when overtures from Russia towards Ukraine eased the escalating strain between Moscow and NATO nations. Global investors also breathed a collective sigh of relief by the sustained cease fire between Hamas and Israel, as well as progress against ISIS militants in Iraq.

Also giving U.S. equities a boost at the open were dovish comments from new Federal Reserve Vice-Chairman Stanley Fischer, who called the global economic recovery "disappointing", leaving the door open for continued accommodation from the U.S. central bank. At a conference in Sweden, Fischer also warned that slowing U.S. productivity and declining labor force participation may contribute to the U.S.'s inability to generate economic growth.

But while demand for riskier assets has improved, safe-haven assets remain steady, likely a result of the lingering risk for global tensions to resurface. Gold is down by only $2 per ounce, oil is higher, and the yield on the 10-year note -- a barometer of investor's threshold for risk -- is unchanged at 2.43%.

Crude oil up $0.68 to $98.33 per barrel. Natural gas was down $0.03 to $3.94 per 1 million BTU. Gold was down $2.10 to $1,308.90 an ounce, while silver was up $0.04 to $19.98 an ounce. Copper was up $0.01 to $3.18 per pound.

Among energy ETFs, the United States Oil Fund was up 0.69% to $36.37 with the United States Natural Gas Fund was down 0.60% to $21.72. Amongst precious-metal funds, the Market Vectors Gold Miners ETF was up 0.80% to 26.92 while SPDR Gold Shares were down 0.29% to $125,83. The iShares Silver Trust was down 0.05% to $19.18.


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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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