U.S. Stocks Move Sharply Higher On Upbeat Earnings, Consumer Confidence Data

Stocks have moved sharply higher in morning trading on Wednesday, adding to the modest gains posted in the previous session. The major averages have all shown significant moves to the upside on the day.

In recent trading, the major averages have reached new highs for the session. The Dow is up 505.84 points or 1.5 percent at 33,355.58, the Nasdaq is up 151.76 points or 1.4 percent at 10,698.88 and the S&P 500 is up 54.30 points or 1.4 percent at 3,875.92.

The rally on Wall Street comes as stocks continue to benefit from bargain hunting, with the uptick seen on Tuesday coming after the major averages slumped to their lowest closing levels in over a month on Monday.

Upbeat earnings news has also generated some positive sentiment, with Nike (NKE) helping to lead the Dow higher.

Shares of Nike are soaring by 13.2 percent after the athletic footwear and apparel giant reported better than expected fiscal second quarter results and provided upbeat full-year revenue guidance.

Delivery giant FedEx (FDX) has also shown a strong move to the upside after reporting fiscal second quarter earnings that exceeded analyst estimates.

Adding to the positive sentiment, the Conference Board released a report showing a significant improvement in U.S. consumer confidence in the month of December.

The Conference Board said its consumer confidence index spiked to 108.3 in December from an upwardly revised 101.4 in November. Economists had expected the index to inch up to 101.0 from the 100.2 originally reported for the previous month.

With the much bigger than expected surge, the consumer confidence index reached its highest level since April 2022.

Lynn Franco, Senior Director of Economic Indicators at the Conference Board, also noted inflation expectations retreated to the lowest level since September 2021, reflecting recent declines in gas prices.

Meanwhile, the National Association of Realtors released a separate report showing a continued slump in U.S. existing home sales in the month of November.

NAR said existing home sales dove by 7.7 percent to an annual rate of 4.09 million in November after plunging by 5.9 percent to a rate of 4.43 million in October. Economists had expected existing home sales to tumble by 5.2 percent to a rate of 4.20 million.

Existing home sales decreased for the tenth consecutive month and are down by 35.4 percent compared to the same month a year ago.

Semiconductor stocks have shown a significant move to the upside on the day, driving the Philadelphia Semiconductor Index up by 2.3 percent. The index is bouncing off its lowest closing level in well over a month.

Considerable strength has also emerged among steel stocks, as reflected by the 2.3 percent surge by the NYSE Arca Steel Index.

Energy stocks have also moved sharply higher along with the price of crude oil, with the Philadelphia Oil Service Index and the NYSE Arca Oil Index jumping by 2.2 percent and 2.0 percent, respectively.

Banking, housing and commercial real estate stocks are also seeing notable strength on the day, moving higher along with most of the other major sectors.

In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region turned in a mixed performance during trading on Wednesday. Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index slid by 0.7 percent, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index rose by 0.3 percent.

Meanwhile, the major European markets have all shown strong moves to the upside on the day. While the French CAC 40 Index has surged by 1.6 percent, the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index and the German DAX Index are up by 1.3 percent and 1.2 percent, respectively.

In the bond market, treasuries are regaining ground after moving sharply lower over the three previous sessions. As a result, the yield on the benchmark ten-year note, which moves opposite of its price, is down by 3.9 basis points at 3.645 percent.

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