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Midday Update: Wall Street Stages Comeback on Bargain Hunting, Technical Support

Fresh off Tuesday's significant correction, the benchmark averages were all trading higher with both the Dow Jones Industrial Average and S&P 500 underpinned by support at their respective 50-day moving averages. Bargain hunting in beaten-down sectors helped offset lingering risk aversion tied to tensions on the Korean peninsula, hurricanes and Washington, as well as the unexpected resignation of Federal Reserve Vice Chairman Stanley Fischer.

Investors rotated out of safe-havens in premarket trade, allowing the blue chip to open with a modest gain on strength in the banking and energy sector. Component stocks Chevron ( CVX ), Exxon Mobil ( XOM ) and Home Depot ( HD ) are leading Dow advancers, while losses in defensive sectors capped gains in the S&P 500.

Economic data was bullish and mildly supportive of stocks. The U.S. trade deficit widened slightly to $43.7 billion from a revised $43.5 billion deficit as exports were down 0.3% while imports were down just 0.2%.

The services sector, the economy's largest employer, continued to show strength according to a pair of indices. The final August purchasing managers index increased to 56.0 from July's 54.7 while the Institute for Supply Management non-manufacturing index rose to 55.3 from 53.9, previously.

In related news, the dollar was driven lower by an unexpected rate hike from the Bank of Canada, and Fischer's surprise resignation. Citing "personal reasons" Fischer's departure leaves one less hawk on the Fed board, and four open positions.

European markets were mixed with the UK's FTSE-100 weighed down by the strengthening pound, but euro-zone bourses bolstered by gains in carmakers and projections for the European Central Bank to postpone an announcement regarding QE tapering until later in the year.

Crude oil was up $0.70 to $49.36 per barrel. Natural gas was up $0.037 to $3.01 per 1 million BTU. Gold was up $0.10 to $1,344.40 an ounce, while silver was up $0.11 to $18.04 an ounce. Copper was up $0.018 to $3.15 per pound.

Among energy ETFs, the United States Oil Fund was up 1.41% to $10.06 with the United States Natural Gas Fund was up $1.14 to $6.66. Amongst precious-metal funds, the Market Vectors Gold Miners ETF was down 0.38% to 25.19 while SPDR Gold Shares were down 0.13% to $127.29. The iShares Silver Trust was up 0.35% to $16.97.

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

US MARKETS

NYSE Composite Index was up 42.45 points (+0.36%) to 11,869.60

Dow Jones Industrial Index was up 58.04 points (+0.27%) to 21,811.35

S&P 500 was up 4.74 points (+0.19%) to 2,462.57

Nasdaq Composite Index up 0.69 points (+0.01%) to 6,376.47

GLOBAL SENTIMENT

FTSE 100 was down 18.79 points (-0.25%) to 7,354.13

DAX was up 90.83 points (+0.75%) to 12,214.54

CAC 40 was up 14.85 points (+0.29%) to 5,101.41

Nikkei 225 was down 27.84 points (-0.14%) to 19,357.97

Hang Seng Index was down 127.59 points (-0.46%) to 27,613.76

Shanghai China Composite Index was up 1.07 points (+0.03%) to 3,385.39

NYSE SECTOR INDICES

NYSE Energy Sector Index was up 142.05 points (+1.41%) to 10,247.83

NYSE Financial Sector Index was up 14.30 points (+0.19%) to 7,434.72

NYSE Healthcare Sector Index was up 33.36 points (+0.25%) to 13,688.01

UPSIDE MOVERS

(+) VSTM (+28.38%) Lymphoma drug study met primary endpoints

(+) VYGR (+18.34%) Reported positive results from phase 1b trial of VY-AACD01 for Parkinson's disease

(+) SRPT (+13.26%) Reported positive early/mid stage clinical trial results in Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy therapy

(+) PTN (+8.24%) Signs licensing deal with Fosun Pharma for Chinese rights to Bremelanotide

DOWNSIDE MOVERS:

(-) TRVG (-16.28%) Issued FY17 profit warning

(-) RXDX (-8.65%) FDA guidance confirmed completed and ongoing studies are sufficient for submission of NDA for entrectinib

(-) FRAN (-3.02%) Lowered FY guidance

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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