Midday Update: Stocks Rise as Interest Rate Increase Likely Pushed Past June on Sluggish Data, Duddley Comments

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Wall Street rebounded off its pre-market lows Monday with the Dow Jones Industrial Average today more than 100 points higher in mid-day trading. The combination of last Friday's bearish jobs report, dovish comments by the president of the New York Federal Reserve and mixed data from the services sector raised doubts for a June rate hike, leaving stocks higher and the dollar lower. Interest-rate sensitive securities were faring best, especially utility stocks, while energy shares were also rising on the back of a $2 increase in the price for a barrel of oil.

The March payroll report weighed on equities in pre-market trading as expectations for sluggish Q1 growth and lackluster earnings drove Dow futures more than 100 points below fair value. But after New York Fed President William Dudley raised doubts for a June rate increase, investors shrugged off fears of lower corporate profits and poured back into equities for a second straight day.

Today's economic data was mixed, including an above-consensus rise in the purchasing managers index for the services sector to 59.2 during March from February's final 57.1 reading.

But the Institute for Supply Management found non-manufacturing activity had contracted from the month prior. The March ISM fell to 56.5 from February's 56.9, missing expectations for a smaller decline to 56.7.

Also, the Labor Market Conditions Index fell to a negative 0.3 reading for March from February's 2.0 score. That was the lowest level in the indicators since March 2012 and added to expectations that a June rate increase was off the table.

Crude oil was up $2.51 to $51.65 per barrel. Natural gas was down $0.07 to $2.65 per 1 million BTU. Gold was up $20.00 to $1,220.90 an ounce, while silver was up $0.46 to $17.17 an ounce. Copper was down $0.02 to $2.72 per pound.

Among energy ETFs, the United States Oil Fund was up 4.21% to $18.30 with the United States Natural Gas Fund was down 2.35% to $13.28. Amongst precious-metal funds, the Market Vectors Gold Miners ETF was down 0.68% to 21.56 while SPDR Gold Shares were up 1.65% to $117.18. The iShares Silver Trust was up 2.43% to $16.41.

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

NYSE Composite Index up 94.22 (+0.86%) to 11,047.38

Dow Jones Industrial Average up 131.45 (+0.74%) to 17,894.69

S&P 500 up 15.09 (+0.73%) to 2,082.05

Nasdaq Composite Index up 29.07 (+0.59%) to 4,916.00


Nikkei 225 Index down 0.19%

Hang Seng Index up 0.77%

Shanghai China Composite Index up 1.00%

FTSE 100 Index closed

CAC 40 closed

DAX closed


NYSE Energy Sector Index up 1.78%

NYSE Financial Sector Index up 0.49%

NYSE Healthcare Sector Index up 0.37%


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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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