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Saturday, November 24, 2012

US Stocks close higher despite more Europe worries (ext.CNN)

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- Stocks closed out a quiet pre-Thanksgiving trading day higher as investors focused on positive U.S. economic numbers instead of renewed questions over Greece's solvency.

European finance ministers failed to finalize the details of a debt-reduction package for Greece before the close of their meeting Wednesday.

Still, the Dow Jones industrial average, the S&P 500, and the Nasdaq closed up between 0.2% and 0.4%. Trading volume was light ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday on Thursday and a short trading day Friday.

The inability of finance ministers to reach a deal over Greece has reignited worries about European sovereign debt, but European stocks closed higher Wednesday.

In the U.S., new jobless claims totaled 410,000 last week, impacted by storm conditions in the Northeast, but that was down from a week ago and lower than what economists had predicted. The University of Michigan's final version of its consumer sentiment index for November moved higher from a month ago but was worse than expected. 

Oil for January delivery rose 63 cents to $87.38 a barrel. Turmoil in the Middle East has contributed to oil price volatility in recent days, with ongoing violence between the Israeli military and the Hamas leadership of Gaza.

Gold futures for December delivery rose $4.60 to $1,728.20 an ounce.

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