Modest Strength Remains Visible On Wall Street

Stocks continue to see modest strength in mid-day trading on Friday after recovering from an early move to the downside. The Dow and the S&P 500 have moved higher after closing lower for three consecutive sessions.

Currently, the major averages remain in positive territory. The Dow is up 11.45 points or 0.1 percent at 21,408.74, the Nasdaq is up 19.08 points or 0.3 percent at 6,255.76 and the S&P 500 is up 5.16 points or 0.2 percent at 2,439.66.

The modest strength on Wall Street comes following the release of a report from the Commerce Department showing a rebound in new home sales in the month of May.

The Commerce Department said new home sales climbed by 2.9 percent to an annual rate of 610,000 in May from the upwardly revised April rate of 593,000.

Economists had expected new home sales to jump by 5.4 percent to a rate of 600,000 from the 569,000 originally reported for the previous month.

Buying interest may also have been generated by an increase by the price of crude oil, with crude for August delivery rising $0.35 to $43.09 a barrel. The price of crude is climbing further off the ten-month low set on Wednesday.

Lingering uncertainty about the near-term outlook for the markets has kept trading activity somewhat subdued, however, with some traders sticking to the sidelines going into the first weekend of the summer.

Traders also continue to digest the details of the Senate Republican plan to repeal and replace Obamacare that was unveiled on Thursday.

Healthcare stocks initially responded positively to the release of the draft of the bill on Thursday but gave back ground after four Republican Senators said they cannot support the plan in its current form.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ken., has little margin for error with the bill, as he can only afford to lose the support of two Republicans and still pass the legislation.

Sector News

Natural gas stocks have shown a strong move to the upside on the day, resulting in a 1.9 percent advance by the NYSE…

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