U.S. Stocks Move Mostly Higher Following Recent Weakness

Stocks have moved mostly higher during trading on Wednesday, with the major averages all moving to the upside after ending the previous session narrowly mixed. The advance on the day comes ahead of the Federal Reserve’s highly anticipated monetary policy announcement this afternoon.

Currently, the major averages are hovering near their best levels of the day. The Dow is up 346.46 points or 1 percent at 34,266.30, the Nasdaq is up 102.79 points or 0.7 percent at 14,849.18 and the S&P 500 is up 37.28 points or 0.9 percent at 4,391.47.

The strength on Wall Street comes as traders pick up stocks at reduced levels following the slump seen during the month of September.

With the upward move on the day, the Dow is bouncing off its lowest closing level in three months, while the S&P 500 is rebounding from a two-month closing low.

Meanwhile, traders are also looking ahead to the Federal Reserve’s monetary policy announcement due at 2 pm ET.

The Fed is widely expected to leave monetary policy unchanged but could provide guidance for its plans to begin scaling back its asset purchases.

The central bank previously signaled it could start tapering by the end of the year, although some disappointing economic data could lead the Fed to push back its plans.

On the U.S. economic front, the National Association of Realtors released a report showing a pullback by U.S. existing home sales in the month of August.

NAR said existing home sales slumped by 2.0 percent to an annual rate of 5.88 million in August after jumping by 2.2 percent to a revised rate of 6.00 million in July.

Economists had expected existing home sales to decrease by 1.7 percent to a rate of 5.89 million from the 5.99 million originally reported for the previous month.

Energy stocks are seeing significant strength on the day, moving higher along with the price of crude oil. Crude for November delivery is jumping $1.18 to $71.67 a barrel.

Reflecting the strength in the energy sector, the NYSE Arca Oil Index is up by 3.1 percent, the Philadelphia Oil Service Index is up by 2.9 percent and the NYSE Arca Natural Gas Index is up by 2.4 percent.

Considerable strength is also visible among airline stocks, as reflected by the 2.8 percent spike by the NYSE Arca Airline Index.

Steel, financial and computer hardware stocks are also seeing notable strength, moving higher along with most of the other major sectors.

In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region turned in a mixed performance during trading on Wednesday. Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index slid by 0.7 percent, while China’s Shanghai Composite Index rose by 0.4 percent.

Meanwhile, the major European markets have all moved to the upside on the day. While the German DAX Index has advanced by 0.9 percent, the French CAC 40 Index is up by 1.2 percent and the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index is up by 1.5 percent.

In the bond market, treasuries are showing a lack of direction as traders look ahead to the Fed announcement. As a result, the yield on the benchmark ten-year note, which moves opposite of its price, is down by less than a basis point at 1.318 percent.

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