The major equity averages are up with strong gains after stumbling in the early going. The move has been broad based, but materials stocks and large-cap tech issues have made the biggest gains.
The broader market started the session on a flat note as a dearth of data and earnings news left market participants unmotivated. However, support at the neutral line provided a floor for stocks to stage a gradual climb.
Materials plays have been strong since the open. The sector is up 1.4% as all but a few of its members stage gains. U.S. Steel (X 54.62, +1.33) is a leader in the pack ahead of its earnings report tomorrow morning.
Tech stocks were mixed early on, but the sector has since climbed to a 1.3% gain. The move has been led by the sector's large-cap members, which actually traded as laggards last week. NVIDIA (NVDA 24.94, +2.72) is in especially strong shape following positive mention in the financial press over the weekend; its leadership has helped lift the Nasdaq to a nice lead over its counterparts.
Halliburton (HAL 39.34, +0.15) posted this morning better-than-expected earnings, but its shares have struggled to sustain their morning rally. Its pullback comes amid relative weakness in the energy sector, which is up just 0.1% as oil prices dive to a 2.0% loss at $87.30 per barrel and natural gas prices drop 2.3% to $4.63 per MMBtu.
McDonald's (MCD 75.29, +0.28) has also pulled back a bit after staging a nice swing out of negative territory. The Dow component reported this morning an upside earnings surprise of its own.
Shares of retailers have also struggled to share in this session's broad market advance. The group is collectively up 0.2%, although J.C. Penney (JCP 32.53, +2.19) has spiked on the back of news that it will take strategic actions to maximize growth and profitability. To help achieve this the retailer has added new members to its board.