Semiconductor Stocks Lead Early Upward Move On Wall Street

(RTTNews) – Stocks have moved mostly higher in morning trading on Thursday, with the major averages all moving to the upside after ending the previous session narrowly mixed. The Dow and the S&P 500 are bouncing off their lowest closing levels in a month.

The major averages have pulled back off their highs of the session but currently remain in positive territory. The Dow is up 142.18 points or 0.4 percent at 33,187.27, the Nasdaq is up 72.14 points or 0.6 percent at 11,579.21 and the S&P 500 is up 25.45 points or 0.6 percent at 4,016.50.

The strength on Wall Street partly reflects a rally by semiconductor stocks, with the Philadelphia Semiconductor Index surging by 2.9 percent.

Nvidia (NVDA) has helped lead the sector higher, as the chipmaker is soaring by 14.7 percent to its best intraday level in over ten months.

The spike by Nvidia comes after the company reported better than expected fourth quarter results and provided upbeat revenue guidance for the current quarter.

Semiconductor giant Intel (INTC) has also moved to the upside after Morgan Stanley upgraded its rating on the company’s stock to Equal Weight from Underweight.

Substantial strength is also visible among oil service stocks, as reflected by the 2.4 percent jump by the Philadelphia Oil Service Index. The index is bouncing off its lowest closing level in well over a month.

Oil service stocks are rebounding along with the price of crude oil, with crude for April delivery surging $1.95 to $75.85 a barrel after plunging $2.41 to $73.95 a barrel on Wednesday.

Airline, natural gas and tobacco stocks are also seeing considerable strength on the day, moving higher along with most of the other major sectors.

Buying interest has remained somewhat subdued, however, as interest rate concerns continue to hang over the markets following yesterday’s release of the minutes of the latest Federal Reserve meeting.

The Fed minutes offered few surprised but reiterated that the central bank will continue to raise interest rates in its battle against inflation.

With the Fed warning about the impact of labor market tightness, some negative sentiment may also have been generated in reaction to a Labor Department report showing an unexpected dip in first-time claims for U.S. unemployment benefits in the week ended February 18th.

The report said initial jobless claims edged down to 192,000, a decrease of 3,000 from the previous week’s revised level of 195,000.

The dip surprised economists, who had expected jobless claims to inch up to 200,000 from the 194,000 originally reported for the previous week.

Meanwhile, revised data released by the Commerce Department showed the U.S. economy grew by slightly less than previously estimated in the fourth quarter of 2022.

In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region turned in a mixed performance on Thursday, with the Japanese markets closed for a holiday. China’s Shanghai Composite Index edged down by 0.1 percent, while South Korea’s Kospi advanced by 0.8 percent.

Meanwhile, European stocks have moved mostly higher on the day. The German DAX Index is up by 0.8 percent and the French CAC 40 Index is up by 0.7 percent, although the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index has bucked the uptrend and is just below the unchanged line.

In the bond market, treasuries have bounced back near the unchanged line after seeing early weakness. 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 3.920 percent.