U.S. Stocks Remain Mostly Positive In Mid-Day Trading

After fluctuating early in the session, stocks have moved mostly higher over the course of the trading day on Thursday. The major averages have all climbed firmly into positive territory after bouncing back and forth across the unchanged line in early trading.

Currently, the major averages are holding on to strong gains. The Dow is up 369.79 points or 1.8 percent at 21,313.30, the Nasdaq is up 124.02 points or 1.7 percent at 7,484.60 and the S&P 500 is up 48.23 points or 2 percent at 2,518.73.

Energy stocks have helped to lead the way higher, benefiting from a sharp increase by the price of crude oil. Crude for May delivery is currently spiking $4.59 to $24.90 a barrel after tumbling to an eighteen-year low earlier this week.

The jump in oil prices comes after President Donald Trump expressed confidence that Saudi Arabia and Russia would resolve their price war within a “few days.”

Trump also indicated he has invited oil executives to the White House to discuss ways to help the industry, saying, “We don’t want to lose our great oil companies.”

In a post on Twitter this morning, Trump said he spoke with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman and expects Saudi Arabia and Russia to agree to cut oil production by at least 10 million barrels per day.

Reflecting the strength in the energy sector, the NYSE Arca Oil Index has skyrocketed by 9.9 percent, the Philadelphia Oil Service Index has surged up by 6.8 percent and the NYSE Natural Gas Index has jumped by 5 percent.

Gold stocks have also shown a substantial move to the upside, driving the NYSE Arca Gold Bugs Index up by 6.6 percent. The rally by gold stocks comes as the price of gold for June delivery is soaring $38.20 to $1,629.60 an ounce.

Considerable strength is also visible among chemical, semiconductor and banking stocks, which are moving higher along with most of the other major sectors.

The strength that has emerged on Wall Street comes even though the Labor Department released a report before the start of trading showing another spike in initial jobless claims in the week ended March 28th.

The Labor Department said initial jobless claims skyrocketed to 6.648 million, an increase of 3.341 million from the previous week’s revised level of 3.307 million.

With another record-breaking increase, the number of seasonally adjusted initial claims reached the highest level in the history of the seasonally adjusted series.

In the past two weeks, nearly 10 million people have filed for unemployment, which economists say translates to an unemployment rate of about 10 percent.

Overseas, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region turned in a mixed performance during trading on Thursday. Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index slumped by 1.4 percent, while China’s Shanghai Composite Index jumped by 1.7 percent.

Meanwhile, the major European markets all moved to the upside over the course of the session. While the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index climbed by 0.5 percent, the French CAC 40 Index and the German DAX Index both rose by 0.3 percent.

In the bond market, treasuries have pulled back off their best levels of the day but continue to see modest strength. As a result, the yield on the benchmark ten-year note, which moves opposite of its price, is down by 2.2 basis points at 0.613 percent.

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