U.S. Stocks Seeing Modest Strength Amid Light Trading

Stocks have moved modestly higher in morning trading on Wednesday after ending the previous session nearly unchanged. The major averages have all moved to the upside, although buying interest has remained subdued.

Currently, the major averages are just off their highs of the session. The Dow is up 86.05 points or 0.3 percent at 34,661.36, the Nasdaq is up 33.46 points or 0.2 percent at 13,769.94 and the S&P 500 is up 11.65 points or 0.3 percent at 4,213.69.

The modest strength on Wall Street may partly reflect continued optimism about the outlook for the global economy following yesterday’s upbeat manufacturing data.

Trading activity remains relatively light, however, as traders seem wary of making significant moves amid lingering concerns about inflation.

The Labor Department’s looming monthly jobs report may also be keeping some traders on the sidelines ahead of the release of the closely watched data on Friday.

Payroll processor ADP typically releases its report on private sector employment on the Wednesday before the Labor Department report, but the data was delayed until Thursday due to the Memorial Day holiday on Monday.

While the ADP report often shows stark differences from the Labor Department report, the data could still have given traders some idea of what to expect.

Later in the day, the Federal Reserve is scheduled to release its Beige Book, a compilation of economic evidence from the twelve Fed districts.

The Beige Book, which is typically released about two weeks before the next Fed meeting, could impact the outlook for monetary policy.

Most of the major sectors are showing only modest moves on the day, although substantial strength is visible among oil service stocks.

Reflecting the strength in the sector, the Philadelphia Oil Service Index has soared by 4.4 percent to its best intraday level in over a year.

The rally by oil service stocks comes as the price of crude oil is seeing further upside after ending the previous session at a more than two-year closing high, with crude for July delivery climbing $0.75 to $68.47 a barrel.

Oil producer stocks are also seeing notable strength in morning trading, while steel stocks are giving back ground following yesterday’s spike.

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 0.5 percent, while China’s Shanghai Composite Index slid by 0.8 percent.

Meanwhile, the major European markets have moved modestly higher on the day. While the French CAC 40 Index has risen by 0.3 percent, the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index is up by 0.2 percent and the German DAX Index is up by 0.1 percent.

In the bond market, treasuries have pulled back off their early highs but remain in positive territory. As a result, the yield on the benchmark ten-year note, which moves opposite of its price, is down by 2.2 basis points at 1.593 percent.

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