IBM Drives Dow Past 23,000

Wall Street’s major averages were trading higher on Wednesday with a rally in shares of International Business Machines (IBM) contributing to a triple-digit gain for the Dow Jones Industrial Average, leaving the other major indices lagging as energy and semiconductor sectors weigh.

Stocks extended Tuesday’s gains in anticipation this week’s meeting of China’s Communist Party Congress would pledge its support to open the country to foreign businesses and address challenges to enterprise due to corporate corruption. Additionally, the dovish stance of the European Central Bank continued to encourage gains across the European Union with the notable exception of Spain’s IBEX.

Futures briefly wobbled on bearish housing market data, but continued to indicate record highs at the open. Housing starts fell 4.7% in September to a seasonally-adjusted annual rate (SAAR) of 1.127 million units, missing estimates for a 0.8% decline to 1.170 million.

Permits fell as well to a SAAR of 1.215 million from 1.270 million in August.

European markets traded higher with Germany’s DAX setting a record high on the weaker euro and likelihood for the European Central Bank to maintain accommodative monetary policy. On Wednesday morning, ECB president Mario Draghi endorsed low interest rates as a way for member countries to “promote reform.”

Crude oil was down $0.16 to $51.72 per barrel. Natural gas was down $0.09 to $2.87 per 1 million BTU. Gold was down $3.70 to $1,282.40 an ounce, while silver was down $0.04 to $17.00 an ounce. Copper was down $0.02 to $3.17 per pound.

Among energy ETFs, the United States Oil Fund was down 0.29% to $10.46 with the United States Natural Gas Fund was down 1.27% to $6.31. Amongst precious-metal funds, the Market Vectors Gold Miners ETF was down 0.55% to 23.32 while SPDR Gold Shares were down 0.39% to $121.65. The iShares Silver Trust was down 0.31% to $16.04.

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