News Column

Stocks Continue To Perform Well In Mid-Day Trading - US Commentary

August 18, 2014

WASHINGTON (Alliance News) - After showing a strong move to the upside in early trading on Monday, stocks have continued to perform well throughout the session. The strength on the day has lifted the tech-heavy Nasdaq to its best levels in over fourteen years.

The major averages have moved roughly sideways in recent trading, hovering near their best levels of the day. The Dow is up 163.30 points or 1% at 16,826.21, the Nasdaq is up 38.59 points or 0.9% at 4,503.52 and the S&P 500 is up 16.12 points or 0.8% at 1,971.18.

The strength on Wall Street is largely due to easing geopolitical concerns amid news that officials from Ukraine and Russia met to discuss a possible truce.

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin met his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov in Berlin, with Klimkin saying the talks had brought "moderate progress."

The easing worries about the conflict in Ukraine led to a rally by stocks in Europe, adding to the positive sentiment on Wall Street.

On the US economic front, the National Association of Home Builders released a report showing an unexpected improvement in homebuilder confidence in the month of August.

The report said the NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index climbed to a reading of 55 in August from 53 in July. Economists had expected the index to come in unchanged compared to the previous month.

With the unexpected increase, the housing market index rose to its highest level since reaching a reading of 56 in January.

Among individual stocks, shares of Dollar General (DG) are moving sharply higher after the discount retailer announced an offer to acquire rival Family Dollar (FDO) for approximately USD9.7 billion. The offer tops a bid by Dollar Tree (DLTR).

Theme park operator SeaWorld Entertainment (SEAS) has also shown a notable move to the upside after Credit Suisse initiated coverage on the company's stock with an Outperform rating.

On the other hand, shares of Dollar Tree have come under pressure on the day following the news of Dollar General's rival bid for Family Dollar.

Sector News

Airline stocks continue to turn in some of the market's best performances in mid-day trading, with the NYSE Arca Airline Index up by 2.1%. The gain extends a recent upward move by the index, which has climbed well off the two-month closing low set earlier this month.

American Airlines (AAL) and United Continental (UAL) are posting standout gains within the sector, jumping by 4% and 3.4%, respectively.

Significant strength has also emerged among trucking stocks, as reflected by the 1.6% gain being posted by the Dow Jones Trucking Index. With the gain, the index has reached a new record high.

Defense stocks are also seeing considerable strength on the day, resulting in a 1.4% gain by the Philadelphia Defense Sector Index. Alliant Techsystems (ATK) and L-3 Communications (LLL) are posting notable gains.

Housing, railroad, and banking stocks have also shown strong moves to the upside, moving higher along with most of the other major sectors.

Other Markets

In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region turned in a lackluster performance during trading on Monday. Japan'sNikkei 225 Index and Hong Kong'sHang Seng Index both ended the day only just above the unchanged line.

Meanwhile, the major European markets showed strong moves to the upside. The UK'sFTSE 100 Index advanced by 0.8%, while the French CAC 40 Index and the German DAX Index jumped by 1.4% and 1.7%, respectively.

In the bond market, treasuries are giving back some ground after ending the previous session notably higher. Subsequently, the yield on the benchmark ten-year note, which moves opposite of its price, is up by 3.2 basis points at 2.377%.

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Source: Alliance News

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