U.S. Stocks Move Mostly Higher Amid Persistent Economic Optimism

(RTTNews) - Stocks have moved mostly higher in morning trading on Friday following the mixed performance seen in the previous session. The tech-heavy Nasdaq has shown a notable advance after ending Thursday's trading in negative territory.

Currently, the major averages are all in positive territory, although the Dow and the S&P 500 are posting only modest gains. While the Nasdaq is up 57.62 points or 0.5 percent at 11,682.96, the Dow is up 22.99 points or 0.1 percent at 28,515.26 and the S&P 500 is up 2.71 points or 0.1 percent at 3,487.26.

The markets continue to benefit from optimism about an economic recovery following the coronavirus crisis, with has helped lift the major averages well off their March lows.

The Nasdaq and the S&P 500 have more than offset the sell-off seen in late February and early March, soaring to new record highs.

The Dow has underperformed its counterparts but is also closing in on the record high set in February and flirting with positive territory for 2020.

Traders also continue to digest Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell's announcement of the central bank's adoption of "average inflation targeting."

Powell's comments on Thursday were seen as an indication the Fed will leave interest rates at near-zero levels for the foreseeable future even if there is an acceleration in the pace of inflation.

Adding to the positive sentiment, the Commerce Department released a report showing an unexpected increase in personal income in July.

The Commerce Department said personal income rose by 0.4 percent in July after slumping by 1.0 percent in June. The rebound surprised economists, who had expected income to dip by another 0.2 percent.

The report also showed a continued surge in personal spending, which jumped by 1.9 percent in July after spiking by 6.2 percent in June. Economists had expected spending to increase by 1.5 percent.

The University of Michigan also released a report showing consumer sentiment in the U.S. improved by more than initially estimated in the month of August.

The report said the consumer sentiment index for August was upwardly revised to 74.1 from the preliminary reading of 72.8. The index is now well above the July reading of 72.5.

The upward revision came as a surprise to economists, who had expected the consumer sentiment index to be unrevised at 72.8.

Gold stocks have shown a strong move back to the upside following the sharp drop seen in the previous session. After tumbling by 2.3 percent on Thursday, the NYSE Arca Gold Bugs Index is surging up by 2.9 percent.

The rebound by gold stocks comes amid a substantial bounceback by the price of the precious metal, with gold for December delivery spiking $34.90 to $1,967.50 an ounce.

Significant strength is also visible among computer hardware stocks, as reflected by the 2.3 percent jump by the NYSE Arca Computer Hardware Index. The index has surged up to its best intraday level in six months.

Dell Technologies (DELL) and HP Inc. (HPQ) are posting standout gains after reporting better than expected quarterly results.

Airline, steel and software stocks are also seeing considerable strength on the day, while most of the other major sectors are showing more modest moves.

In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region turned in another mixed performance during trading on Friday. Japan's Nikkei 225 Index tumbled by 1.6 percent, while China's Shanghai Composite Index jumped by 1.6 percent.

Meanwhile, major European markets have all moved to the downside on the day. While the French CAC 40 Index has dipped by 0.3 percent, the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index is down by 0.5 percent and the German DAX Index is down by 0.6 percent.

In the bond market, treasuries are regaining ground following the downturn seen over the course of the previous session. Subsequently, the yield on the benchmark ten-year note, which moves opposite of its price, is down by 3.1 basis points at 0.715 percent.

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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