Wall Street Climbs Amid Upbeat Data, Tempered Syria Fears

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The markets drifted higher Thursday in thin trading as traders parsed through upbeat economic data and worries about Syria cooled down for the moment.

Today's Markets 

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 16.4 points, or 0.11%, to 14841, the S&P 500 advanced 3.2 points, or 0.2%, to 1638 and the Nasdaq Composite climbed 30 points, or 0.75%, to 3620.

The markets have been volatile in recent days as market participants parse through headlines on Syria. Overnight, Fox News reported some members of Congress were opposed to strikes in the country, while other international partners also called for patience before any military involvement. That sentiment helped put pressure on commodity futures. 

The benchmark U.S. crude oil contract recent fell 78 cents, or 0.72%, to $109.32 a barrel. Wholesale New York Harbor gasoline dipped 0.66% to $3.074 a gallon. In metals, gold, which is seen as a safe-haven asset, dropped $6.40, or 0.45%, to $1,412 a troy ounce. 

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Wall Street also got two important economic reports on the day. The Commerce Department reported the U.S. economy grew at an annual rate of 2.5% in the second quarter, up from a reading of 1.7%, also higher than expectations of 2.2%. The improvement was helped by the biggest surge in exports since 2010. 

Meanwhile, the Labor Department said weekly jobless claims fell to 331,000 from an upwardly revised 337,000 the week prior. Economists expected claims to fall to 332,000 from an initially reported 336,000.. Both economic gauges are being closely watched since the Federal Reserve has a dual mandate to keep the unemployment rate low and inflation in check. 

Every major was to the upside in recent action, besides energy and utilities. The biggest winners could be found in the telecommunications space on the back of news on Verizon Wireless. 

Verizon Communications (VZ) was said to be in talks to buy the 45% of Verizon Wireless it doesn't already own from Vodafone (VOD), according to multiple media reports. These reports said the deal could be worth up to $130 billion. 

Foreign Markets

The Euro Stoxx 50 rose 0.46% to 2755, the English FTSE 100 gained 0.72% to 6476 and the German DAX gained 0.38% to 8189. 

In Asia, the Japanese Nikkei 225 rallied 0.91% to 13460 and the Chinese Hang Seng jumped 0.84% to 21705.

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