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Wall Street drifts higher on mixed economic data

English.news.cn   2014-02-14 06:15:26

NEW YORK, Feb. 13 (Xinhua) -- U.S. stocks closed higher on Thursday, reversing earlier losses, as investors tried to digest a batch of mixed economic data.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average added 63.65 points, or 0.40 percent, to 15,027.59. The S&P 500 increased 10.57 points, or 0.58 percent, to 1,829.83. The Nasdaq Composite Index surged 39.38 points, or 0.94 percent, to 4,240.67.

The market gain sent the major indices to three-week highs, pointing to the best week this year.

The Nasdaq went up for its sixth consecutive trading, while the Dow and the S&P 500 advanced for the fifth time in six sessions.

Wall Street initially lost momentum after the Commerce Department said before the opening bell that the country's retail sales decreased 0.4 percent in January, falling short of market estimates.

The Labor Department reported that the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial unemployment claims rose 8,000 to 339, 000 in the week ending Feb. 8, also dampening the market.

The four-week moving average, a clearer gauge of trend, stood at 336,750, increasing 3,500 from the previous week's revised average of 333,250, it said.

However, the market turned higher after U.S. business inventories came out better than expected in December, up 0.5 percent, the Commerce Department said in a separate report.

Moreover, analysts blamed cold weather for the disappointing retail sales, also reassuring investors.

In corporate news, Comcast Corporation and Time Warner Cable, the two biggest U.S. cable operators, announced their boards had approved a definitive agreement for a merger.

Comcast agreed to acquire Time Warner Cable for approximately 45.2 billion U.S. dollars in stocks, according to a statement.

In response, Comcast's shares retreated 4.12 percent to 52.97 dollars while Time Warner Cable's shares soared 7.01 percent to 144.80 dollars.

Shortly after the closing bell, American International Group released an encouraging earnings report in the fourth quarter and also raised its quarterly dividend. Shares of the giant insurer ticked up in after-hours trading.

The CBOE Volatility Index, widely considered as a fear gauge of the market, dropped 1.12 percent to 14.14.

In other markets, U.S. oil price was little changed Thursday on mixed economic data. Light, sweet crude for March delivery moved down 2 cents to settle at 100.35 U.S. dollars a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, while Brent crude for March delivery lost 6 cents to close at 108.73 dollars a barrel.

Gold futures on the COMEX division of the New York Mercantile Exchange advanced to the highest level in more than three months on soft dollar Thursday, with the most active gold contract for April delivery up 5.1 dollars to settle at 1,300.1 dollars per ounce.

The U.S. dollar lost ground against major currencies Thursday, dampened by the country's disappointing retail sales.

In late New York trading, the euro moved up to 1.3675 dollars from 1.3594 dollars in the previous session. The dollar bought 102. 29 Japanese yen, lower than 102.46 yen of the previous session.

Editor: Mu Xuequan
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