Nasdaq Firmly Positive, Dow And S&P 500 Slightly Higher

While the tech-heavy Nasdaq has remained firmly in positive territory after an early move to the downside, the Dow and the S&P 500 have fluctuated over the course of the trading session on Wednesday.

Currently, the Nasdaq is up 35.10 points or 0.6 percent at 6,415.26, while the Dow is up 9.87 points or less than a tenth of a percent at 22,294.19 and the S&P 500 is up 2.97 points or 0.1 percent at 2,499.81.

The initial strength on Wall Street was partly in reaction to a report from the Commerce Department showing a bigger than expected jump in durable goods orders in the month of August.

The report said durable goods orders surged up by 1.7 percent in August after plunging by 6.8 percent in July. Economists had expected orders to climb by 1.0 percent.

Excluding an increase in orders for transportation equipment, durable goods orders edged up by 0.2 percent in August after climbing by 0.8 percent in July. The uptick matched economist estimates.

The Commerce Department also said orders for non-defense capital goods excluding aircraft, an indicator of business spending, rose by 0.9 percent in August after climbing by 1.1 percent in July.

Michael Pearce, U.S. economist at Capital Economics said the data suggests that business equipment investment is set for another big gain in the third quarter.

However, buying interest was partly offset by the release of a separate report from the National Association of Realtors showing a steep drop in pending home sales in the month of August.

NAR said its pending home sales index plunged by 2.6 percent to 106.3 in August from 109.1 in July. The index had been expected to dip by 0.5 percent.

With the much bigger than expected decrease, the pending home sales index dropped to its lowest reading since hitting 106.1 in January of 2016.

A pending home sale is one in which a contract was signed but not yet closed. Normally, it takes four to six weeks to close a contracted sale.

Traders are also looking ahead to remarks by President Donald Trump, who is expected to provide details of his tax reform plan later in the day.

Sector News

Semiconductor stocks are seeing significant strength in mid-day trading, with the Philadelphia Semiconductor Index climbing by 1.5 percent.

Micron Technology (MU) has led the semiconductor sector higher after reporting better than expected fourth quarter results and providing upbeat guidance.

Considerable strength is also visible among financial stocks, driving the Dow Jones Banks Index and the NYSE Arca…

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