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US stocks close higher amid economic data


New York Stock Exchange (XinhuaWang YingIANS)20180825113645_l

New York, Aug 25 (IANS) US stocks closed higher as investors digested a batch of economic data.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average on Friday rose 133.37 points, or 0.52 per cent, to 25,790.35. The S&P 500 was up 17.71 points, or 0.62 per cent, to 2,874.69, Xinhua news agency reported.

The Nasdaq Composite Index increased 67.52 points, or 0.86 per cent, to 7,945.98.

New orders for manufactured durable goods in July decreased $4.3 billion or 1.7 per cent to $246.9 billion, said the Commerce Department on Friday. The decrease followed a 0.7 per cent increase in June.

Excluding transportation, new orders increased 0.2 per cent. Excluding defence, new orders decreased 1 per cent.

US weekly jobless claims slipped by 2,000 to 210,000 last week despite the ongoing trade worries, the Labor Department said on Thursday. The 4-week moving average was 213,750, a decrease of 1,750 from the previous week’s unrevised average.

Meanwhile, investors also paid close attention to Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell’s speech delivered at the Jackson Hole Symposium in Wyoming, where leading central bankers are meeting to discuss the future of monetary policy.

"If the strong growth in income and jobs continues, further gradual increases in the target range for the federal funds rate will likely be appropriate," said Powell.

On Wednesday, the US central bank released the minutes of its latest monetary policy meeting, where Fed officials saw an escalation in international trade disputes as a potentially "consequential downside risk" for the US economy.

While many Fed officials signalled that the central bank was ready to raise interest rates as soon as next month, some worried that current trade disputes could force the central bank to rethink its interest rate hike plans.

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