After moving to the upside early in the session, stocks have given back ground over the course of morning trading on Friday. The major averages have pulled back off their highs of the young session but remain in positive territory.
Currently, the major averages are holding on to modest gains. The Dow is up 58.77 points or 0.2 percent at 35,813.46, the Nasdaq is up 41.93 points or 0.3 percent at 15,559.30 and the S&P 500 is up 18.11 points or 0.4 percent at 4,685.56.
The early advance on Wall Street came even after the Labor Department released a report showing U.S. consumer prices surged at the fastest annual rate of in nearly 40 years in November.
The report showed the annual rate of growth in consumer prices accelerated to 6.8 percent in November from 6.2 percent in October, reflecting the biggest jump since June of 1982.
Core consumer prices, which exclude food and energy prices, were up by 4.9 percent compared to the same month a year ago, showing the biggest annual increase since June of 1991.
The faster annual growth came as consumer prices climbed by 0.8 percent in November following a 0.9 percent advance in October. Economists had expected consumer prices to increase by 0.7 percent.
Core consumer prices rose by 0.5 percent in November after climbing by 0.6 percent in October. The increase in core prices matched economist estimates.
While the elevated rate of inflation may lead the Federal Reserve to accelerate the pace of tapering its asset purchases next week, traders seemed relieved that the price growth was not even faster.
A separate report from the University of Michigan showed consumer sentiment in the U.S. unexpectedly improved in early December.
The report said the consumer sentiment index climbed to 70.4 in December after dropping to a ten-year low of 67.4 in November. The rebound surprised economists, who had expected the index to edge down to 67.1.
Despite the advance by the broader markets, most of the major sectors are showing only modest moves in morning trading.
Software stocks have moved sharply higher, however, with the Dow Jones U.S. Software Index surging up by 2.2 percent.
Oracle (ORCL) is leading the sector higher, soaring by 13.3 percent after the business software giant reported better than expected fiscal second quarter results and announced a $10 billion increase in its share repurchase program.
On the other hand, airline stocks have shown a significant move to the downside on the day, dragging the NYSE Arca Airline Index down by 2.6 percent.
In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region moved mostly lower during trading on Friday. Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index slumped by 1 percent, while China’s Shanghai Composite Index dipped by 0.2 percent.
Meanwhile, the major European markets have turned mixed on the day. While the German DAX Index is up by 0.1 percent, the French CAC 40 Index and the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index are both down by 0.3 percent.
In the bond market, treasuries have moved higher over the course of the session after seeing initial weakness. As a result, the yield on the benchmark ten-year note, which moves opposite of its price, is down by 2.9 basis points at 1.458 percent.
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