U.S. Stocks Show Strong Move Back To The Upside

Stocks moved mostly higher over the course of the trading day on Tuesday, more than offsetting the weakness seen on Monday. The major averages climbed firmly into positive territory after showing a lack of direction early in the session.

The major averages saw further upside going into the close, reaching new highs for the session. The Dow jumped 371.65 points or 1.1 percent to 35,462.78, the Nasdaq surged 178.79 points or 1.3 percent to 14,194.46 and the S&P 500 advanced 37.67 points or 0.8 percent to 4,521.54.

The strength that emerged on Wall Street came as the major averages have rebounded from the multi-month lows set in late January but remain well off their record highs.

Traders may have continued to pick up stocks at relatively reduced levels as they digest the latest batch of quarterly earnings news.

Shares of Harley-Davidson (HOG) moved sharply higher after the motorcycle maker reported an unexpected fourth quarter profit on revenues that exceeded analyst estimates.

Education technology company Chegg (CHGG) also saw significant strength after reporting better than expected fourth quarter results and providing upbeat guidance.

Meanwhile, shares of Pfizer (PFE) moved to the downside after the drug giant reported fourth quarter earnings that beat expectations but weaker than expected revenues.

On the U.S. economic front, the Commerce Department released a report showing the U.S. trade deficit widened modestly in the month of December.

The Commerce Department said the trade deficit widened to $80.7 billion in December from a revised $79.3 billion in November.

Economists had expected the trade deficit to expand to $83.0 billion from the $80.2 billion originally reported for the previous month.

The wider deficit came as the value of imports surged 1.6 percent to $308.9 billion, while the value of exports jumped 1.5 percent to $228.1 billion.

Sector News

Extending the rally seen in the previous session, airline stocks moved sharply higher over the course of the day, driving the NYSE Arca Airline Index up by 3.7 percent.

Steel stocks also showed a substantial move to the upside, resulting in a 2.5 percent spike by the NYSE Arca Steel Index.

Significant strength also emerged among semiconductor stocks, as reflected by the 2.4 percent jump the Philadelphia Semiconductor Index.

Financial, retail and housing stocks also saw considerable strength on the day, while energy stocks bucked the uptrend amid another sharp drop by the price of crude oil.

With crude for March delivery tumbling $1.96 to $89.36 a barrel, the Philadelphia Oil Service Index and the NYSE Arca Oil Index plunged by 2.5 percent and 2.1 percent, respectively.

Other Markets

In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region moved mostly higher during trading on Tuesday. Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index inched up by 0.1 percent, while China’s Shanghai Composite Index climbed by 0.7 percent.

Meanwhile, the major European markets turned in a mixed performance on the day. While the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index edged down by 0.1 percent, the German DAX Index and the French CAC 40 Index rose by 0.2 percent and 0.3 percent, respectively.

In the bond market, treasuries moved back to the downside following the modest rebound seen in the previous session. As a result, the yield on the benchmark ten-year note, which moves opposite of its price, climbed 3.8 basis points to 1.954 percent.

Looking Ahead

Amid a relatively quiet day on the U.S. economic front, trading on Wednesday may be impacted by reaction to the latest earnings news.

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