U.S. Stocks Move Mostly Higher On Upbeat Earnings News

Stocks have moved mostly higher in morning trading on Thursday, with the major averages all moving to the upside following the mixed performance seen in the previous session. The Dow is rising for the third straight day, reaching its best intraday level in two months.

The major averages have pulled back off their highs of the session but currently remain firmly positive. The Dow is up 273.43 points or 0.8 percent at 35,434.22, the Nasdaq is up 161.02 points or 1.2 percent at 13,614.08 and the S&P 500 is up 42.42 points or 1 percent at 4,501.87.

Airline stocks have helped to lead the way higher on Wall Street, with the NYSE Arca Airline Index soaring by 5.7 percent to a two-month intraday high.

American Airlines (AAL) and United Airlines (UAL) are posting standout gains after reporting first quarter losses but forecasting a return to profitability in the current quarter.

Shares of Tesla (TSLA) have also moved sharply higher after the electric car maker reported first quarter results that beat analyst estimates on both the top and bottom lines.

Notable strength is also visible among chemical stocks, as reflected by the 1.4 percent gain being posted by the S&P Chemical Sector Index. The index has reached its best intraday level in three months.

Industry giant Dow Inc. (DOW) has helped to lead the sector higher after reporting better than expected first quarter results.

Semiconductor stocks are also turning in a strong performance in morning trading, while gold stocks have moved sharply lower amid a decrease by the price of the precious metal.

With gold for June delivery falling $9.70 to $1,945.90 an ounce, the NYSE Arca Gold Bugs Index is plunging by 3.6 percent.

Later in the day, trading may be impacted by reaction to remarks by Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell, who is scheduled to speak on the global economy before a virtual International Monetary Fund Debate on the Global Economy.

On the U.S. economic front, the Labor Department released a report showing a slight decrease in first-time claims for U.S. unemployment benefits in the week ended April 16th.

The report showed initial jobless claims edged down to 184,000, a decrease of 2,000 from the previous week’s revised level of 186,000.

Economists had expected jobless claims to dip to 180,000 from the 185,000 originally reported for the previous week.

Meanwhile, a separate from the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia showed growth in Philadelphia-area manufacturing activity slowed more than expected in the month of April.

The Philly Fed said its diffusion index for current activity slumped to 17.6 in April from 27.4 in March. While a positive reading still indicates growth, economists had expected the index to show a more modest drop to 21.0.

The Conference Board also released a report showing its reading on leading U.S. economic indicators increased in line with economist estimates in the month of March.

In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region turned in yet another mixed performance on Thursday. Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index jumped by 1.2 percent, while China’s Shanghai Composite Index plunged by 2.3 percent.

Meanwhile, the major European markets have all moved to the upside on the day. While the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index has inched up by 0.1 percent, the German DAX Index is up by 1.2 percent and the French CAC 40 Index is up by 1.6 percent.

In the bond market, treasuries have come under pressure, offsetting the rebound seen in the previous session. As a result, the yield on the benchmark ten-year note, which moves opposite of its price, is up by 7.2 basis points at 2.912 percent.

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