U.S. Stocks Move Mostly Higher Amid Optimism About Reopening

Stocks moved mostly higher over the course of the trading day on Wednesday, partly offsetting the modest weakness seen in the previous session. The major averages all closed in positive territory, although the tech-heavy Nasdaq outperformed its counterparts.

After ending Tuesday’s trading marginally lower, the Nasdaq climbed 80.82 points or 0.6 percent to 13,738.00. The S&P 500 also edged up 7.86 points or 0.2 percent to 4,195.99, while the narrower Dow inched up 10.59 points or less than a tenth of a percent to 34,323.05.

The modest strength on Wall Street partly reflected continued economic optimism as the country continues to reopen following the coronavirus pandemic.

Shares of Royal Caribbean (RCL) saw notable strength after the cruise operator became the first to receive approval from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to begin test sailing in U.S. waters.

Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings (NCLH) also moved to the upside after announcing the next phase of its planned resumption of cruising across its three cruise lines, revealing plans for eight additional ships to relaunch beginning this fall.

The news from the cruise lines comes amid other signs of the steady reopening of the economy as an increasing number of Americans receive a coronavirus vaccine.

Upbeat earnings news from retailers such as Dick’s Sporting Goods (DKS), Urban Outfitters (URBN) and Abercrombie & Fitch (ANF) added to the positive sentiment.

Nonetheless, buying interest remained somewhat subdued as traders continue to look ahead to a closely watched reaching on inflation on Friday.

Sector News

Reflecting optimism about the economy reopening, airline stocks showed a strong move to the upside, driving the NYSE Arca Airline Index up by 3 percent.

Significant strength was also visible among oil service stocks, as reflected by the 2.1 percent jump by the Philadelphia Oil Service Index.

The rally by oil service stocks came as the price of crude oil turned higher over the course of the day, with crude for July delivery inching up $0.14 to $66.21 a barrel after falling as low as $65.25 a barrel.

Housing stocks also turned in a strong performance, resulting in a 1.6 percent advance by the Philadelphia Housing Sector Index.

Luxury homebuilder Toll Brothers (TOL) posted a standout gain after reporting better than expected fiscal second quarter results.

Computer hardware, steel and brokerage stocks also saw notable strength on the day, 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 mixed performance during trading on Wednesday. Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index rose by 0.3 percent, while Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index fell by 0.3 percent.

Meanwhile, the major European markets turned in a lackluster performance on the day. While the French CAC 40 Index closed marginally higher, the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index closed just below the unchanged line and the German DAX Index edged down by 0.1 percent.

In the bond market, treasuries showed a lack of direction before closing slightly lower. As a result, the yield on the benchmark ten-year note, which moves opposite of its price, inched up by 1 basis point to 1.574 percent.

Looking Ahead

Trading on Thursday may be impacted by reaction to reports on weekly jobless claims, durable goods orders and pending home sales.

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