Federal Reserve Optimism Ignites Rally on Wall Street


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U.S. equities rallied -- with the Dow crossing back above the 16000 mark -- after Fed chief nominee Janet Yellen cleared a key hurdle in Congress.

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Today's Markets

As of 1:54 p.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEXDJX:DJI) rose 109 points, or 0.68%, to 16009, the S&P 500 (INDEXSP:GSPC) advanced 14.2 points, or 0.8%, to 1795 and the Nasdaq Composite (NASDAQ:IXIC) gained 42.1 points, or 1.1%, to 3963.

Traders had no lack of information to parse through on Thursday.

Federal Reserve Vice Chairman Janet Yellen won a vote in the Senate Banking Committee to become the next chair of the central bank. The move clears the way for a full vote in the Senate later this year. Yellen is seen as likely to continue curren Fed chief Ben Bernanke's highly-accommodative monetary policies that have helped lift stocks 25% higher this year.

The Labor Department reported wholesale prices fell 0.2% in October, matching economists’ expectations. Excluding the food and energy segments, prices rose 0.2%, slightly exceeding the 0.1% Wall Street expected. Prices have been broadly holding steady even as the Federal Reserve pushes hard on the economic accelerator, according to recent economic data.

The number of Americans filing for first-time unemployment benefits fell last week to 323,000 from an upwardly revised 344,000 the week prior, Labor said. Economists expected the number of claims to fall to 335,000 from an initially reported 339,000. Jobless claims have stabilized to some extend following the government shutdown in October.

Later, at 10:00 a.m. ET, market participants will get a reading on the manufacturing sector in the mid-Atlantic region. The Philadelphia Federal Reserve's PMI gauge is expected to have slumped to 15 in November from 19.8 the month prior. Readings above 0 point to expansion, while those below indicate contraction.

In corporate news, Target (NYSE:TGT) shares slumped after the retailer cut its full-year outlook amid a weaker-than-expected increase in comparable sales.

Elsewhere, U.S. crude oil futures edged up by 29 cents, or 0.31%, to $94.14 a barrel. Wholesale New York Harbor gasoline climbed 0.71% to $2.682 a gallon. Gold dipped $11.50, or 0.91%, to $1,247 a troy ounce.

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