Stocks fluctuated early in the session but have moved mostly higher over the course of the trading day on Wednesday. With the upward move on the day, the Dow has reached a new record intraday high.
In recent trading, the Dow and the S&P 500 have reached new highs for the session. The Dow is up 156.42 points or 0.5 percent at 34,289.45, the Nasdaq is up 83.86 points or 0.6 percent at 13,717.36 and the S&P 500 is up 22.00 points or 0.5 percent at 4,186.66.
The strength on Wall Street partly reflects a positive reaction to better than expected quarterly results from some well-known companies.
Shares of Tupperware (TUP) have moved sharply higher after the storage products maker reported first quarter results that exceeded analyst estimates on both the top and bottom lines.
Office Depot parent ODP Corp. (ODP) is also posting a strong gain after reporting better than expected first quarter earnings and announcing plans to separate into two independent, publicly traded companies.
Shares of General Motors (GM) have also moved to the upside after the auto giant reported first quarter earnings that came in well above analyst estimates.
Meanwhile, traders have largely shrugged off a report from the Institute for Supply Management showing an unexpected slowdown in the pace of growth in U.S. service sector activity in the month of April.
The ISM said its services PMI edged down to 62.7 in April after jumping to an all-time high of 63.7 in March. A reading above 50 still indicates growth in the service sector, but economists had expected the index to inch up to 64.3.
The unexpected drop by the services index comes after the ISM released a separate report earlier this week showing an unexpected slowdown in the pace of growth in U.S. manufacturing activity.
Before the start of trading, payroll processor ADP released a report showing private sector job growth accelerated in the month of April but still came in below economist estimates.
ADP said private sector employment spiked by 742,000 jobs in April after surging by an upwardly revised 565,000 jobs in March.
However, economists had expected private sector employment to soar by 800,000 jobs compared to the jump of 517,000 jobs originally reported for the previous month.
On Friday, the Labor Department is scheduled to release its more closely watched monthly employment report, which includes both public and private sector jobs.
Economists currently expect employment to jump by 978,000 jobs in April after surging up by 916,000 jobs in May. The unemployment rate is also expected to dip to 5.8 percent from 6.0 percent.
Energy stocks have moved sharply higher over the course of the session, benefiting from an increase by the price of crude oil.
Crude for June delivery is climbing $0.42 to $66.11 a barrel following the release of a report showing a steep weekly drop in crude oil inventories.
Reflecting the strength in the energy sector, the Philadelphia Oil Service Index is up by 4.8 percent and the NYSE Arca Oil Index is up by 3.7 percent.
Substantial strength has also emerged among steel stocks, as reflected by the 2.8 percent jump by the NYSE Arca Steel Index. The index has reached its best intraday level in nearly years.
Brokerage stocks are also turning in a strong performance in mid-day trading, with the NYSE Arca Broker/Dealer Index surging up by 2 percent.
Airline, semiconductor, and natural gas stocks have also moved notably higher, while interest rate-sensitive commercial real estate and utilities stocks have moved to the downside.
In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region turned in a mixed performance on Wednesday, with several major markets closed for holidays. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index fell by 0.5 percent, while Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index rose by 0.4 percent.
Meanwhile, the major European markets all showed strong moves to the upside on the day. While the German DAX Index surged up by 2.1 percent, the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index and the French CAC 40 Index jumped by 1.7 percent and 1.4 percent, respectively.
In the bond market, treasuries have bounced back near the unchanged line after seeing initial weakness. Subsequently, the yield on the benchmark ten-year note, which moves opposite of its price, is up by less than a basis point at 1.596 percent.
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