Markets

U.S. Stocks Move Mostly Higher But Buying Interest Somewhat Subdued

(RTTNews) - Stocks have moved mostly higher in morning trading on Thursday, offsetting the modest pullback seen in the previous session. The major averages have all moved to the upside, although buying interest is somewhat subdued.

Currently, the major averages are holding on to moderate gains. The Dow is up 86.82 points or 0.3 percent at 27,088.80, the Nasdaq is up 35.29 points or 0.4 percent at 8,159.47 and the S&P 500 is up 14.46 points or 0.5 percent at 3,004.15.

The strength on Wall Street partly reflects a positive reaction to news that U.K. and European Union negotiators have reached a last-minute Brexit deal.

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker described the deal as "fair and balanced" for the EU and the U.K. and urged member nations to back the agreement.

The deal could eliminate some of the Brexit uncertainty hanging over the global markets, although it remains to be seen if the agreement will be approved by U.K. lawmakers.

Uncertainty about final approval of the deal has helped to limit the upside for the markets along with the release of some disappointing U.S. economic data.

Just before the start of trading, the Federal Reserve released a report showing a bigger than expected decrease in industrial production, with the strike at General Motors (GM) contributing to a drop in manufacturing output.

The Fed said industrial production fell by 0.4 percent in September after climbing by an upwardly revised 0.8 percent in August.

Economists had expected production to edge down by 0.1 percent compared to the 0.6 percent increase originally reported for the previous month.

A separate report released by the Commerce Department showed a sharp pullback in housing starts in the month of September.

The Commerce Department said housing starts plunged by 9.4 percent to an annual rate of 1.256 million in September after soaring by 15.1 percent to a revised 1.386 million in August.

Economists had expected housing starts to drop by 3.2 percent to an annual rate of 1.320 million from the 1.364 million originally reported for the previous month.

The report said building permits also slumped by 2.7 percent to an annual rate of 1.387 million in September after jumping by 8.2 percent to a revised 1.425 million in August.

Building permits, an indicator of future housing demand, had been expected to tumble by 4.9 percent to a rate of 1.350 million from the 1.419 million originally reported for the previous month.

Brokerage stocks are seeing notable strength in morning trading, with the NYSE Arca Broker/Dealer Index climbing by 1.1 percent.

Morgan Stanley (MS) is leading the sector higher after the financial giant reported better than expected third quarter results.

Gold, steel and transportation stocks have also moved to the upside on the day, moving higher along with most of the other major sectors.

In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region moved mostly lower during trading on Thursday. Japan's Nikkei 225 Index and China's Shanghai Composite Index both edged down by 0.1 percent, while Australia's S&P/ASX 200 Index slid by 0.8 percent.

Meanwhile, European stocks have moved mostly higher on the day, with the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index climbing by 0.6 percent. The German DAX Index has also risen by 0.3 percent, although the French CAC 40 Index is just below the unchanged line.

In the bond market, treasuries are seeing modest weakness on the heels of the news of the Brexit deal. As a result, the yield on the benchmark ten-year note, which moves opposite of its price, is up by 1.3 basis points at 1.761 percent.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.