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US stocks pick up despite downbeat data


New York:  US stocks extended gains in the morning session on Tuesday, as Wall Street weighed a batch of soft economic reports ahead of the Federal Reserve’s key policy meeting.

By midday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average jumped 141.30 points (0.86 percent), to 16,512.26. The S&P 500 increased 16.00 points (0.82 percent), to 1,969.03. The Nasdaq Composite Index was up 36.31 points (0.76 percent), to 4,842.08.

The Commerce Department announced on Tuesday that advance estimates of US retail and food services sales for August increased 0.2 percent from the previous month to $447.7 billion, slightly below market consensus of a 0.3-percent gain.

US industrial production decreased 0.4 percent in August, exceeding market expectations of a 0.2-percent decline, the Federal Reserve reported on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, the September 2015 Empire State Manufacturing Survey indicates that business activity declined for a second consecutive month for New York manufacturers, said the New York Fed Tuesday.

The headline general business conditions index came out at minus 14.7, up slightly from minus 14.92 in August and well below market estimates of minus 0.5.

“Orders and employment weighed on the index. It is the worst back-to-back reading since the beginning of 2009,” said Jay Morelock, an economist at FTN Financial, in a note.

Traders also keep a close eye on the Fed’s highly-watched two-day policy meeting scheduled to begin on Wednesday, when the US central bank could raise interest rates for the first time in more than nine years.

Some analysts thought the soft data could give the Fed an excuse to postpone rate hikes.

On Monday, US stocks closed lower as investors remained cautious ahead of the Fed’s policy meeting.



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