U.S. Stocks Move Mostly Higher As Data Eases Interest Rate Concerns

Stocks have moved mostly higher during trading on Wednesday, extending the upward move seen over the two previous sessions. The major averages have all moved to the upside, with the Dow climbing further off last Friday’s seven-month closing low.

Currently, the major averages are just off their highs of the session. The Dow is up 193.84 points or 0.6 percent at 33,246.71, the Nasdaq is up 106.88 points or 0.8 percent at 12,958.11 and the S&P 500 is up 29.81 points or 0.7 percent at 4,223.61.

The strength on Wall Street comes as the release of some weaker than expected U.S. economic data has eased concerns about the outlook for interest rates ahead of the Federal Reserve’s monetary policy announcement this afternoon.

Payroll processor ADP released a report before the start of trading showing private sector employment in the U.S. increased by less than expected in the month of October.

The report said private sector employment climbed by 113,000 jobs in October after rising by 89,000 jobs in September. Economists had expected employment to jump by 150,000 jobs.

A separate report released by the Institute for Supply Management showed manufacturing activity in the U.S. unexpectedly contracted at a faster rate in the month of October.

The ISM said its manufacturing PMI fell to 46.7 in October from 49.0 in September, with a reading below 50 indicating a contraction. Economists had expected the index to come in unchanged compared to the previous month.

Later this afternoon, the Fed is widely expected to announce its decision to leave interest rates unchanged for the second consecutive meeting. Traders will pay close attention to the accompanying statement for clues about the outlook for rates.

CME Group’s FedWatch Tool is currently indicating a 98.1 percent chance the Fed will leave rates unchanged today and a 78.7 percent chance rates will remain unchanged in December.

Meanwhile, the Treasury Department announced it intends to continue gradually increasing coupon auction sizes in the upcoming November 2023 to January 2024 quarter.

The Treasury said it plans to auction $112 billion worth of long-term securities next week, including $48 billion worth of three-year notes, $40 billion worth of ten-year notes and $24 billion worth of thirty-year bonds.

In a letter, Treasury officials said the recent increase in treasury yields is “partially a response to stronger-than-expected activity and labor market data.”

Sector News

Software stocks are seeing considerable strength on the day, driving the Dow Jones U.S. Software Index up by 1.6 percent.

Significant strength has also emerged among housing stocks, as reflected by the 1.4 percent gain being posted by the Philadelphia Housing Sector Index.

Brokerage, computer hardware and oil stocks are also seeing notable strength, while networking stocks are giving back ground following the rally seen on Tuesday.

Other Markets

In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region moved mostly higher during trading on Wednesday. Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index surged by 2.4 percent, while South Korea’s Kospi jumped by 1.0 percent.

The major European markets have also moved to the upside on the day. While the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index has climbed by 0.6 percent, the German DAX Index and the French CAC 40 Index are both up by 0.8 percent.

In the bond market, treasuries have moved sharply higher over the course of the session. Subsequently, the yield on the benchmark ten-year note, which moves opposite of its price, is down by 8.6 basis points at 4.789 percent.

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