US stocks rally amid upbeat data

US stocks rally amid upbeat data
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New York: US stocks ended higher on Friday as investors meditated on a batch of generally positive economic reports.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 72.85 points, or 0.29 per cent, to 24,946.51. The S&P 500 increased 4.68 points, or 0.17 per cent, to 2,752.01, Xinhua news agency reported.

The Nasdaq Composite Index edged up 0.25 point, or less than 0.01 per cent, to 7,481.99.

Following a decline of 0.3 per cent in January, US industrial production rose 1.1 per cent in February, well above market estimates of a 0.4-per cent gain, the Federal Reserve reported on Friday.

The number of job openings increased to 6.3 million on the last business day of January, beating market expectations of 5.8 million, the US Labor Department said on Friday.

The preliminary reading of US consumer sentiment in March rose to 102, higher than economists’ estimates of 98.8, according to a survey released by the University of Michigan on Friday.

Meanwhile, US privately-owned housing starts in February were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,236,000, missing market consensus, the Commerce Department announced on Friday.

Investors also kept a close eye on the country’s political developments, in the wake of major personnel changes in the White House, including the departure of Rex Tillerson as secretary of state, and the naming of Lawrence Kudlow as the director of the National Economic Council.

IANS