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Good gains at Wall Street
(10:18, 14 Sep 2018)

U.S. stocks closed higher on Thursday, 13 September 2018 with the S&P 500 up for a fourth straight session on the back of strong technology shares. News that China may be receptive to overtures from the U.S. on new talks also soothed trade-related jitters.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average advanced 147.07 points, or 0.6%, to end at 26,145.99, its first close above 26,000 this month. The S&P 500 rose 15.26 points, or 0.5%, to 2,904.18 and the Nasdaq Composite Index climbed 59.48 points, or 0.8% to finish at 8,013.71.

Technology stocks were the best performers with Apple rising 2.4% a day after it unveiled new iPhones. Alphabet added 0.9% and Microsoft added 1.1%.

Gains there helped offset a relatively weak showing from the financial sector which continued to get pinched by a flattening yield curve, and a lackluster showing from the consumer staples and energy sectors.

Investors continue to track trade tensions between the U.S. and China, the world's two largest economies. But there is some optimism that the Trump administration is giving Beijing another chance to try to stave off new tariffs on $200 billion in Chinese exports. A fresh round of trade talks could take place later this month.

Meanwhile, the European Central Bank made no change on interest rates, and repeated that it doesn't expect any changes until summer 2019 at least as it remains on track to end its bond-buying program in December. The ECB slightly trimmed its GDP growth forecasts for both 2018 and 2019, and ECB President Mario Draghi said that risks to the euro area's growth outlook were “broadly balanced.”

Crude oil futures fell sharply on Thursday, 13 September 2018 with U.S. benchmark prices dropping back from the nearly two-month high seen a day earlier, as an industry report showed global supplies at a record and Hurricane Florence weakened ahead of its expected landfall on the East Coast.

October futures on West Texas Intermediate crude, the U.S. benchmark, fell $1.78, or 2.5%, to settle at $68.59 a barrel, a day after marking the highest settlement since July 20 at $70.37. November Brent gave up $1.56, or 2%, to $78.18 a barrel on ICE Futures Europe. Wednesday's settlement for the global benchmark was the highest since May.

Bullion prices ended lower at Comex on 13 September 2018 at Comex. Gold futures finished lower pulling back a day after scoring their highest finish in two weeks even as a benchmark dollar index extended its losses for the week to date.

On Thursday, December gold lost $2.70, or 0.2%, to settle at $1,208.20 an ounce after climbing to a roughly two-week intraday high of $1,218. December silver fell 0.3% to settle at $14.244 an ounce. The September front-month contract settled earlier this week at $14.05, the lowest since January 2016.

A leading dollar index gave up early gains in the wake of global central bank news and Thursday's U.S. economic data.

A measure of consumer-level inflation climbed but did so at a slower pace, while the weekly check-in on jobless benefits claims slipped but held near a 49-year low.

The Bank of England, meanwhile, left rates untouched as it noted some concern for slowing global growth. The European Central Bank, as well, stood pat on policy as expected. Turkey's central bank raised a key lending rate in an effort to thwart the deterioration of its currency's value.

Against that backdrop, the dollar weakened, but failed to give dollar-denominated gold a boost. The ICE U.S. Dollar Index slipped 0.3% at 94.55. It has climbed 2.6% year to date.

Friday will be a very busy day of economic reporting. The Retail Sales and Export/Import Price Index reports will be released at 08:30 ET, followed by the Industrial Production report for August at 09:15 ET, and then the Business Inventories report for July and the preliminary University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment report for September at 10:00 a.m.

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