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US Stocks May Close Higher on Upbeat Economic Data

By Investors Hub

The major U.S. index futures are pointing to a higher opening on Thursday following the mixed performance seen in the previous session.

Early buying interest may be generated in reaction to a batch of upbeat economic data, including a report from the Commerce Department showing a bigger than expected increase in retail sales in the month of November.

Stocks turned in another mixed performance during trading on Wednesday as traders reacted to the Federal Reserve?s widely expected decision to raise interest rates.

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While the S&P 500 edged down 1.26 points or 0.1 percent to 2,662.85, the Dow rose 80.63 points or 0.3 percent to 24,585.43 and the Nasdaq inched up 13.48 points or 0.2 percent to 6,875.80.

The mixed closed on Wall Street came as the Fed raised the benchmark U.S. interest rate to a range of 1.25 percent to 1.5 percent but struck a dovish tone on future rate hikes amid stubbornly low inflation.

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“Averaging through hurricane-related fluctuations, job gains have been solid, and the unemployment rate declined further,” the Fed’s statement read.

The central bank added, “Household spending has been expanding at a moderate rate, and growth in business fixed investment has picked up in recent quarters.”

While the economy is humming along nicely, the Fed said core inflation will continue to run below its 2 percent annual target in 2018.

In economic news, the Labor Department released a report showing consumer prices increased in line with economist estimates in the month of November.

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The Labor Department said its consumer price index rose by 0.4 percent in November after inching up by 0.1 percent in October.

Excluding food and energy prices, core consumer prices ticked up by 0.1 percent in November after rising by 0.2 percent in the previous month. Core prices had been expected to rise by 0.2 percent.

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Dipo Olowookere is a journalist based in Nigeria that has passion for reporting business news stories. At his leisure time, he watches football and supports 3SC of Ibadan.

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