Market Closes Mostly Higher

Market close commentary for 17 July 2013.

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Rising regional manufacturing output and falling jobless claims in the U.S. coupled with reassuring words from Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke sent stocks rising on Thursday.

At the close of U.S. trading, the Dow Jones Industrial Average finished up 0.50%, the S&P 500 index also ended up 0.50%, while the Nasdaq Composite index rose 0.04%.

Follow up:

The U.S. Department of Labor reported earlier that the number of individuals filing for initial jobless benefits last week fell by 24,000 to 334,000, better than expectations for a drop of 13,000 to 345,000.

Elsewhere, the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia said that its manufacturing index rose 19.8 for July from June’s 12.5 reading. Analysts had expected the index to decline to 7.8.

Meanwhile, Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke told U.S. lawmakers in his semi-annual congressional testimony earlier that stimulus programs will remain in place for the foreseeable future though they may begin to wind down later this year if the economy improves.

Stimulus programs such as the Fed's USD85 billion monthly asset-purchasing program tend push up stock prices by keeping borrowing costs low.

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