Stocks Move Mostly Higher Following Recent Sell-Off - U.S. Commentary

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( - After initially showing a lack of direction, stocks have moved mostly higher over the course of morning trading on Friday. The major averages are rebounding after ending the previous session at their lowest closing levels in over a year.

Currently, the major averages remain positive, although the Nasdaq is up just 9.62 points or 0.2 percent at 6,538.02. The Dow is up 203.19 points or 0.9 percent at 23,062.79 and the S&P 500 is up 17.61 points or 0.7 percent at 2,485.03.

The strength that has emerged on Wall Street has partly been attributed to comments by New York Federal Reserve President John Williams, who told CNBC the Fed is listening "very carefully" to the market's concerns about growth.

"We are listening, there are risks to that outlook that maybe the economy will slow further," Williams said in an interview on CNBC's "Squawk on the Street."

He added, "What we're going to be doing going into next year is re-assessing our views on the economy, listening to not only markets but everybody that we talk to, looking at all the data and being ready to reassess and re-evaluate our views."

The comments by Williams offset some of the recent concerns that the Fed plans to follow-through on plans to continuing raising rates despite signs of slowing global economy growth.

Buying interest has been held in check, however, as traders keep an eye on developments in Washington amid a looming government shutdown.

With just hours to go before a midnight deadline, lawmakers appear to be at an impasse over funding for President Donald Trump's controversial wall on the border with Mexico.

The currently Republican-controlled House voted 217 to 185 in favor of a short-term spending bill late Thursday, although the bill includes $5 billion for the construction of the wall opposed by Democrats.

House Republicans took up the bill, which also provides $7.8 billion for disaster relief, after Trump said he would not sign a stopgap spending approved the Senate that did not include wall funding.

The Senate bill passed by a voice vote Wednesday night would fund key government agencies through February 8th but pushes a debate over funding for the wall into the next Congress, when Democrats will control the House.

The Senate is not expected to pass a spending bill including wall funding, as Democratic votes would be needed to reach the 60-vote threshold.

In posts on Twitter, Trump sought to blame Democrats for the potential shutdown after previously saying he would be "proud to shut down the government for border security," an issue that helped propel him to the White House.

"The Democrats, whose votes we need in the Senate, will probably vote against Border Security and the Wall even though they know it is DESPERATELY NEEDED," Trump tweeted.

"If the Dems vote no, there will be a shutdown that will last for a very long time," he added. "People don't want Open Borders and Crime!"

Meanwhile, traders are also digesting mixed economic data on durable goods orders, third quarter GDP, personal income and spending and consumer sentiment.

Oil service stocks are showing a strong move to the upside after falling sharply in recent sessions, with the Philadelphia Oil Service Index climbing by 1.6 percent after ending Thursday's trading at a fifteen-year closing low.

The rebound by oil service stocks comes as crude for February delivery is rising $0.34 to $46.22 a barrel, bouncing off its lowest closing level in seventeen months.

Considerable strength has also emerged among chemical stocks, as reflected by the 1.6 percent jump by the S&P Chemicals Index. The index ended the previous session at a nearly two-year closing low.

Interest rate-sensitive utilities and commercial real estate stocks are also seeing notable strength along with semiconductor and housing stocks.

In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region turned in a mixed performance during trading on Friday. Japan'sNikkei 225 Index slumped by 1.1 percent, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index rose by 0.5 percent.

The major European markets have also turned mixed on the day. While the French CAC 40 Index is down by 0.1 percent, the U.K.'sFTSE 100 Index is just above the unchanged line and the German DAX Index is up by 0.2 percent.

In the bond market, treasuries are seeing modest weakness, extending the pullback seen in the previous session. Subsequently, the yield on the benchmark ten-year note, which moves opposite of its price, is up by 1.2 basis points at 2.801 percent.

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