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Wall Street Bounces Back From 3-Day Slump as Retail Spending Grows

Thursday, 11 December 2014 05:08 PM

U.S. stocks rose on Thursday as upbeat retail sales and other U.S. data pointed to a strengthening U.S. economy and lifted optimism about consumer spending.

Indexes ended well off their highs for the day, however, paring gains late in the session as Brent oil settled down 0.9 percent, putting a lid on energy shares, and as worries increased about a possible U.S. government shutdown.

"Stocks roared out of the gate on stronger retail numbers, but started selling off as oil fell below $60 a barrel for the first time in over five years," Rob Williams, deputy editor of MoneyNews.com, said on "The Steve Malzberg Show" on Newsmax.TV. "Still, the markets closed higher Thursday, and Wednesday's low may have marked the bottom for December."

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The gains come after the S&P 500 shed 2.4 percent over the previous three sessions, the worst run for the benchmark index in two months, as weak oil prices weighed down the energy sector.

Still, lower oil prices likely encouraged consumer holiday spending, and November retail sales beat expectations. Retailers were among the day's biggest percentage gainers on the S&P 500, including Urban Outfitters, up 7.6 percent at $32.29. The S&P retail index jumped 1 percent.

"It suggests overall spending is going to do well," said Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at Rockwell Global Capital in New York. He said a year-end rally could take the S&P to about 2,100.

Other economic data showed a strengthening labor market, as weekly initial jobless claims dipped by 3,000 to an adjusted 294,000, while the drop in oil prices helped spur the biggest decline in U.S. import prices in 2-1/2 years.

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 63.19 points, or 0.36 percent, to 17,596.34, the S&P 500 gained 9.19 points, or 0.45 percent, to 2,035.33 and the Nasdaq Composite added 24.14 points, or 0.52 percent, to 4,708.16.

The fate of a $1.1 trillion U.S. spending bill was put in doubt by Democratic objections over a provision to roll back part of the Dodd-Frank financial reform law. Current spending authority for federal agencies expires at midnight.

Investors are still "a bit worried about a government shutdown," said Bruce Zaro, chief technical strategist, Bolton Global Asset Management in Boston.

The S&P energy sector, which has been hammered by the recent slide in oil prices, pared gains late in the session to close flat as oil prices fell further.

Brent crude, down more than 40 percent from its June high, settled down 0.9 percent at $63.68 a barrel. WTI oil fell below $60 a barrel for the first time since July 2009.

Staples Inc. jumped 8.7 percent to $16.10 and Office Depot climbed 12.1 percent to $7.54 after activist investor Starboard Value LP disclosed stakes in both office-supply retailers.

About 7.2 billion shares changed hands on U.S. exchanges, above the 6.9 billion average for the last five sessions, according to BATS Global Markets.

NYSE advancers outnumbered decliners 1,787 to 1,295, for a 1.38-to-1 ratio; on the Nasdaq, 1,668 issues rose and 1,089 fell, for a 1.53-to-1 ratio.

The S&P 500 posted 36 new 52-week highs and 15 lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 91 new highs and 93 lows.

© 2019 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.

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U.S. stocks rose on Thursday as upbeat retail sales and other U.S. data pointed to a strengthening U.S. economy and lifted optimism about consumer spending.
stocks, Wall Street, retail, market
Thursday, 11 December 2014 05:08 PM
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