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Wednesday, November 16, 2011

US Stocks gain as economy trumps eurozone fears (ext)

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- U.S. stocks closed higher Tuesday as a batch of better-than-expected U.S. economic data temporarily overshadowed ongoing fears about the eurozone debt crisis.

The Dow Jones industrial average (INDU) added 17 points, or 0.1%, to close at 12,096. The S&P 500 (SPX) gained 6 points, or 0.5%, to 1,258, The Nasdaq (COMP) rose 29 points, or 1.1%, to 2,686.

Stocks opened lower as investors were rattled by rising bond yields in Europe. But shares regained ground in the afternoon as the focus shifted to upbeat reports on the U.S. economy.

"The U.S. data continues to surprise to the upside," said Paul Zemksy, head of asset allocation at ING Investment Management in New York. "The market is paying more attention to U.S. fundamentals, though that could change in a heartbeat."

In the United States, retail sales rose 0.5% in October, boosted by strength in electronics and home improvement, the government said Tuesday. The increase beat expectations of a 0.4% rise, but was lower than the 1.1% gain in the previous month.

Meanwhile, the Empire State manufacturing index returned to positive territory after five months in the red, indicating that manufacturing activity has been expanding in November in New York. The index edged up to 0.6, from negative 8.5 last month. Economists were expecting the index to come in -0.8.

The dollar gained strength against the euro and the British pound, but fell versus the Japanese yen.

Oil for December delivery rose 34 cents to close at $98.48 a barrel.

Gold futures for December delivery slid $8.20 to end at $1,770.20 an ounce.

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