Stocks opened higher and are rallying strong in early trading for a second straight day.
Near 10:11 a.m. ET, the Dow was up 160 points (0.91%), the S&P 500 was up 16 points and just seven points shy of 2,100 (0.8%), and the Nasdaq was up 31 points (0.66%).
The big news overnight was that the People’s Bank of China fixed the Chinese yuan to the lowest level since March 2011. The PBoC set the midpoint of its yuan fix at 6.5468 per dollar, down 0.34% from Tuesday.
The bank is looking to soften the blow of a possible interest-rate hike in June by the Federal Reserve. Bloomberg reported, citing sources familiar, that the PBoC will ask the Fed in annual talks next month about the timing of the next rate hike.
Crude oil prices inched closer to $50 per barrel. West Texas Intermediate crude futures in New York gained 1.65% to $49.43. The American Petroleum Institute’s weekly inventories data on Tuesday showed a bigger-than-expected draw.
In US economic data, the FHFA’s house price index rose 0.7% in March, more than expected. But on a quarterly basis, the pace of home-price appreciation slowed down although there were gains for a 19th straight period.
And, Markit’s flash services PMI came in at 50.8. It was weaker than expected, as optimism among service providers fell to the lowest level in six and a half years.