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Wall Street closes higher prior to Thanksgiving holiday; Dow up 0.38%

Stock MarketsNov 21, 2012 04:26PM ET
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Investing.com - U.S. stocks closed higher Wednesday, after the release of positive U.S. economic data, while markets wound down ahead of the U.S. Thanksgiving holiday on Thursday. 

At the close of  U.S. trade, the Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed 0.38%, the S&P 500 index advanced 0.23%, while the Nasdaq Composite index added 0.34%.

Sparking the bullishness, the Conference Board leading economic index for the U.S. rose last month, official data showed on Wednesday.

In a report, The Conference Board Inc. said that U.S. CB Leading Index rose to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 0.2%, from 0.5% in the preceding month whose figure was revised down from 0.6%.

Analysts had expected U.S. CB Leading Index to rise 0.2% last month

However, U.S. UoM consumer sentiment fell more-than-expected last month, data indicated on Wednesday.

In a report, the University of Michigan said that consumer sentiment fell to a seasonally adjusted 82.7, from 84.9 in the preceding month.

Analysts had expected UoM consumer sentiment to fall to 84.5 last month.

A separate report showed that the U.S. manufacturing purchasing managers' index improved to 52.4 in November from a reading of 51 the previous month. Analaysts had expected the index to rise to 51.20 this month. 

Meanwhile, market sentiment remained weak after talks between euro zone finance ministers and the International Monetary Fund concluded on Tuesday without reaching a deal on unlocking Greece’s bailout package, amid disagreements on how best to reduce the country’s debt to sustainable levels.

In the retail sector, Salesforce.com Inc saw shares surge 5.43% after the company forecast fiscal fourth-quarter sales and profit in line with analysts’ estimates. 

On the downside, Hewlett-Packard dropped 0.68% after accusing on Tuesday Autonomy, the software maker it bought last year, of a broad range of financial falsehoods resulting in an EUR8.8 billion writedown. 

Meanwhile, Deere saw shares dive 4.11%, as the the world’s largest maker of agricultural equipment reported fourth-quarter earnings that missed analysts’ estimates after sales outside the U.S. and Canada declined. 

Profit climbed to USD1.75 a share in the three months through October 31 from USD1.62 a share a year earlier, according to Bloomberg. 

Elsewhere, HeartWare International, a maker of implantable pumps for hearts, plunged 6.37%, after Wells Fargo & Co. downgraded the stock to market perform, the equivalent of hold, from outperform. 

At the close of  European  trade, the EURO STOXX 50 rose 0.40%, France’s CAC 40 added 0.44%, while Germany’s DAX 30 eased higher by  0.16%.

Thursday is the Thanksgiving holiday in the U.S. thus U.S. markets will be closed.

Wall Street closes higher prior to Thanksgiving holiday; Dow up 0.38%

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