Stocks See Further Upside, Reach New Record Intraday Highs

After initially moving higher, stocks have seen some further upside in recent trading on Friday. The upward move has once again lifted the major averages to new record intraday highs.

Currently, the major averages are just off their best levels of the day. The Dow is up 87.64 points or 0.4 percent at 25,162.77, the Nasdaq is up 45.71 points or 0.7 percent at 7,123.62 and the S&P 500 is up 9.84 points or 0.4 percent at 2,733.83.

The continued strength on Wall Street comes even though a report from the Labor Department showed weaker than expected job growth in the month of December.

The report said non-farm payroll employment climbed by 148,000 jobs in December after spiking by an upwardly revised 252,000 jobs in November.

Economists had expected employment to increase by 190,000 jobs compared to the addition of 228,000 jobs originally reported for the previous month.

Traders have largely shrugged off the report, as analysts have suggested that recent data points to overall strength in the labor market.

“While the headline job gain number may have disappointed, the average over the last three months was still very strong,” said Joel Naroff, president and chief economist at Naroff Economic Advisors.

A separate report from the Institute for Supply Management showed an unexpected slowdown in the pace of growth in activity in the service sector.

The ISM said that its non-manufacturing index dropped to 55.9 in December from 57.4 in November. While a reading above 50 still indicates growth in the service sector, economists had expected the index to inch back up to 57.6.

Nonetheless, Anthony Nieves, Chair of the ISM Non-Manufacturing Business Survey Committee, said the majority of respondents’ comments indicate they finished the year on a positive note.

In other economic news, the Commerce Department reported the widest trade deficit in nearly six years in November, while factory orders jumped more than expected during the month.

Sector News

Despite the continued advance by the broader markets, most of the major sectors are showing only modest moves in mid-day trading.

While software, railroad, and tobacco stocks have moved to the upside, energy stocks are giving back ground along with the price of crude oil.

Crude oil for February delivery is sliding $0.65 to $61.36 a barrel after climbing to a three-year closing high in the previous session.

Other Markets

In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region saw further upside during trading on Friday. Japan’s…

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