US stocks higher on positive economic dataMarch 2nd, 2012 - 12:40 am ICT by IANS
New York, March 1 (IANS) US stocks traded higher Thursday after the latest economic data affirmed the US economy is picking up, Xinhua reported.
The labor department said the number of people applying for jobless benefits decreased 2,000 to a seasonally adjusted 351,000 last week, holding the four-year low level.
Meanwhile, US personal income gained 0.3 percent in January, according to the commerce department.
Also lifting the market, retail sales came in better than analysts had expected, another proof that the recovery is gaining momentum.
Investors continued to focus on the testimony by Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke in front of the Senate Banking Committee.
The Fed chief did not signal another round of quantitative easing in his testimony in the House previous day, which disappointed some investors, who had expected the Fed to be more aggressive.
In midday trading, the Dow Jones industrial average gained 46. 39 points, or 0.36 percent, to 12,998.46. The Standard & Poor’s 500 was up 7.53 points, or 0.55 percent, to 1,373.21. The Nasdaq Composite Index rose 19.43 points, or 0.65 percent, to 2,986.32.
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