Stocks Holding Gains Mid-Session

The benchmark averages were holding onto modest gains midday Monday but are off their session highs following reports that the Russian ambassador to Turkey was killed in an attack tied to Russia’s military involvement in the Syrian city of Aleppo.

Andrei Karlov was shot at an art gallery in the Turkish capital of Ankara earlier Monday by an assailant who reportedly shouted “Allahu Akbar” and “Aleppo” before firing the shots that ultimately killed the Russian ambassador. Financial markets responded with the dollar falling slightly against the yen, and the Dow coming off its session high.

At the open, Wall Street was trading higher amid expectations that a speech from Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen this afternoon will echo her confidence in the U.S. economy made during statements in her post-Federal Open Market Committee meeting.

Last Wednesday the FOMC voted unanimously to raise interest rates 25 basis points in consideration of recent gains in the labor market and signs of economic strength. Yellen added that the “evolution of the economy” warranted further rate hikes in 2017.

By Stephen Holmes