Wall Street Resumes Bull Trend, Shrugs off Yellen and Geo-Political Concerns

New York (Mar 22)  Wall Street is on firm footing today and challenging record highs as worries about an impending rate hike and geo-political tensions ease. Strength in the banking sector following the results from the Fed's stress test coupled with gains in the energy sector drove the S&P 500 to a new record high, while weakness in biotech stocks is largely responsible for a small loss in the Nasdaq Composite.

Investors have all but dismissed Fed Chair Janet Yellen's hawkish comment regarding short-term rates, as well as the still unresolved situation in Ukraine, focusing instead on bullish economic fundamentals and its positive impact on Q1 earnings.

The only economic data for the market to digest today was Atlanta Fed Business Inflation Expectations which declined to 1.8% from 2.0% the month prior.

European equities closed with respectable gains following in the lead of their U.S. counterparts. Mining stocks were again outperforming the broader markets, pushing the FTSE to its first weekly gain in a month.

Crude oil was down $0.99 to $99.38 per barrel. Natural gas was down $0.06 to $99.38 per 1 million BTU. Gold was up $5.20 to $1,335.80 an ounce, while silver was down $0.06 to $20.37 an ounce. Copper was up $0.03 to $2.96 per pound.

Among energy ETFs, the United States Oil Fund was up 1.24% to $36.05 with the United States Natural Gas Fund was down 1.58% to $23.92. Amongst precious-metal funds, the Market Vectors Gold Miners ETF was up 0.04% to 25.59 while SPDR Gold Shares was up 0.68% to $128.73. The iShares Silver Trust was up 0.23% to $19.56.

Here's where the markets stand at mid-day:

NYSE Composite Index up 69.02 (+0.66%) to 10,469.72

Dow Jones Industrial Average up 102.44 (+0.63%) to 16,433.49

S&P 500 up 9.08 (+0.49%) to 1,881.09

Nasdaq Composite Index down 0.95 (-0.02%) to 4,318.33


Nikkei 225 Index down 1.65%

Hang Seng Index up 1.20%

Shanghai China Composite Index up 2.72%

FTSE 100 Index up 0.38%

CAC 40 up 0.39%

DAX up +0.68%

 Source: NASDAQ