Major Averages Remain In Positive Territory In Early Afternoon Trading

After recovering from an initial move to the downside, stocks continue to see moderate strength in early afternoon trading on Monday. With the turnaround on the day, the Nasdaq has reached a new record intraday high.

Currently, the major averages all remain in positive territory. The Dow is up 43.51 points or 0.2 percent at 29,146.02, the Nasdaq is up 56.77 points or 0.6 percent at 9,577.28 and the S&P 500 is up 9.76 points or 0.3 percent at 3,337.47.

The initial weakness on Wall Street reflected lingering concerns about the economic impact of the deadly coronavirus outbreak.

The Chinese government revealed Sunday night that a total of 40,171 cases of coronavirus have been confirmed, with 908 people dying from the disease.

World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus also voiced concerns about the virus being spread from people with no travel history to China, saying, “We may only be seeing the tip of the iceberg.”

However, traders seem reassured by Chinese President Xi Jinping’s pledge to win the fight against the outbreak, with the Chinese leader saying the country will speed up the development of drugs aimed at treating the deadly pneumonia-like virus.

Overall trading activity has also remained somewhat subdued as some traders stick to the sidelines ahead of the release of closely watched reports on consumer prices, retail sales and industrial production later this week.

Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell is also due to head up to Capitol Hill in the coming days for his semi-annual testimony to Congress.

Powell is slated to testify before the House Financial Services Committee on Tuesday and the Senate Banking committee on Wednesday.

Sector News

Gold stocks continue to see considerable strength in early afternoon trading, with the NYSE Arca Gold Bugs Index climbing by 1.6 percent.

The strength among gold stocks comes amid an increase by the price of the precious metal, as gold for April delivery is rising $4.90 to $1,578.30

Significant strength is also visible among tobacco stocks, resulting in a 1.7 percent gain by the NYSE Arca Tobacco Index. The index is bouncing off the nearly four-month closing low set last Friday.

Software and retail stocks are also seeing notable strength on the day, while energy stocks have moved to the downside along with the price of crude oil.

Other Markets

In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region moved mostly lower during trading on Monday. Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index both ended the day down by 0.6 percent.

The major European markets also moved to the downside on the day. While the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index fell by 0.3 percent, the French CAC 40 Index and the German DAX Index both dipped by 0.2 percent.

In the bond market, treasuries are extending the notable upward move seen in the previous session. As a result, the yield on the benchmark ten-year note, which moves opposite of its price, is down by 2 basis points at 1.558 percent.

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