While buying interest has remained somewhat subdued, stocks continue to see modest strength in mid-day trading on Thursday. The major averages have all moved higher after ending the previous session on opposite sides of the unchanged line.
In recent trading, the major averages have given back some ground, but they remain in positive territory. The Dow is up 51.09 points or 0.3 percent at 20,710.41, the Nasdaq is up 6.32 points or 0.1 percent at 5,903.87 and the S&P 500 is up 5.35 points or 0.2 percent at 2,366.48.
The modest strength on Wall Street comes following the release of a report from the Commerce Department showing stronger than previously estimated economic growth in the fourth quarter of 2016.
The report said real GDP climbed by 2.1 percent in the fourth quarter compared to the previously reported 1.9 percent increase. Economists had expected the pace of GDP growth to be upwardly revised to 2.0 percent.
Despite the upward revision, the GDP growth in the fourth quarter still reflects a notable slowdown from the 3.5 percent jump seen in the third quarter.
The Commerce Department said the stronger than previously estimated growth primarily reflected upward revisions to consumer spending and private inventory investment.
A separate report from the Labor Department showed a modest drop in initial jobless claims in the week ended March 25th.
The report said initial jobless claims edged down to 258,000, a decrease of 3,000 from the previous week’s 261,000. Economists had expected jobless claims to decline to 247,000.
However, traders seem somewhat reluctant to make more significant moves amid continued uncertainty about the outlook for President Donald Trump’s policy agenda.
The failure of the Republican healthcare bill has raised concerns about Trump’s ability to achieve other policy goals such as tax reform and increased infrastructure spending.
Banking stocks continue to see considerable strength in mid-day trading, with the Dow Jones Banks Index…