Midday Update: Wall Street Sees Record Highs on Powell Testimony, Bullish Economic Data

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Wall Street's benchmark averages advanced to record highs on Tuesday following encouraging remarks from the presumptive new Fed chief and upbeat economic data. Led by gains in the financial and industrial sectors, the Dow Jones Industrial Average is trading with a triple-digit gain and outperforming its peers.

In his confirmation hearing to the Senate Banking Committee, current Federal Reserve governor and President Donald Trump's nominee as Fed chairman Jerome Powell indicated his commitment to maintaining current Fed policies and gradually reducing the size of the Fed's balance sheet. Powell is viewed as the philosophical heir to out-going Fed Chair Janet Yellen and, as a dove, has the endorsement from Wall Street.

Stocks are also getting a boost from a record high in the Richmond Fed manufacturing index of 30.0 -- twice what economists expected -- and a 17-year high in consumer confidence. The consumer confidence index shot up to 129.5 in November from an upward revised 126.2 in October, beating expectations for a decline to 124.5.

Tuesday's other economic data had less impact on stock prices. The trade deficit in goods swelled to $68.3 billion in October from $64.1 billion the month prior, while housing prices showed modest improvement month-over-month. The Federal Housing Finance Agency home price index rose 0.3%, half of what was expected, while the comparable Case Shiller index was up 0.5% vs estimates for a 0.4% gain.

Following in the lead of its U.S. counterparts, Europe's major market averages all closed higher, aided by a weaker euro and British pound. The UK's FTSE-100 ended a four-day losing streak on gains in the oil and banking sectors, and outperformed EU-zone bourses.

Crude oil was down $0.30 to $57.81 per barrel. Natural gas was up $0.15 to $3.08 per 1 million BTU. Gold was up $1.00 to $1,299.90 an ounce, while silver was down $0.20 to $16.93 an ounce. Copper was down $0.06 to $3.10 per pound.

Among energy ETFs, the United States Oil Fund was down 0.09% to $11.58 with the United States Natural Gas Fund was up 3.65% to $6.25. Amongst precious-metal funds, the Market Vectors Gold Miners ETF was up 0.40% to 23.14 while SPDR Gold Shares were up 0.15% to $123.02. The iShares Silver Trust was down 1.06% to $15.93.

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


NYSE Composite Index was up 61.62 points (+0.50%) to 12,452.40

Dow Jones Industrial Index was up 133.86 points (+0.57%) to 23,714.64

S&P 500 was up 13.58 points (+0.52%) to 2,614.88

Nasdaq Composite Index was up 16.85 points (+0.24%) to 6,895.22


FTSE 100 was up 76.75 points (+1.04%) to 7,460.65

DAX was up 58.33 points (+0.46%) to 13,059.53

CAC 40 was up 30.39 points (+0.57%) to 5,390.48

Nikkei 225 was down 9.75 points (-0.04%) to 22,486.24

Hang Seng Index was down 5.34 points (-0.02%) to 29,680.85

Shanghai China Composite Index was up 11.43 points (-0.34%) to 3,333.66


NYSE Energy Sector Index was up 70.03 points (+0.65%) to 10,812.98

NYSE Financial Sector Index was up 38.41 points (+0.49%) to 7,947.57

NYSE Healthcare Sector Index was up 64.68 points (+0.46%) to 14,154.09


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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.

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.

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