US economic data boosts stocks

City A.M. Reporter
US stocks climbed today after data on the labour market and consumer spending signalled the economy was on an upswing.

US consumer spending rose for a fourth straight month and a key inflation gauge was at a record low, while jobless claims fell more than expected, the government reported.

A private survey found US consumer sentiment rose to its highest level since June.

The data helped lift stocks, which had fallen nearly three per cent since early November after hitting a two-year high.

Markets fell sharply yesterday on concerns over European debt and tensions on the Korean Peninsula.

"Now you are getting good economic data, and you have a tug of war going on here between an improving economy and geopolitical events," said Paul Mendelsohn, chief investment strategist at Windham Financial Services in Charlotte, Vermont.

"The market is trying to determine how much weight to put on each one of these events."

The Dow Jones industrial average was up 101.79 points, or 0.92 percent, at 11,138.16.

The Standard & Poor's 500 Index was up 10.99 points, or 0.93 percent, at 1,191.72.

The Nasdaq Composite Index was up 33.99 points, or 1.36 percent, at 2,528.94.

Wall Street was also boosted by upbeat results from upscale jeweler Tiffany & Co.

Tiffany advanced 4.1 per cent to $60.68 (38p) after posting quarterly profit and sales that handily beat estimates and forecasting strong holiday sales.

The S&P retail index gained 2.3 per cent on bullish prospects for retailers heading into the important holiday shopping season.

Other data showed weakness still remained in the economy, as new durable goods orders had their largest decline in nearly two years and new U.S. single-family home sales fell unexpectedly in October.

Trading volume was light ahead of the U.S. Thanksgiving Day holiday on Thursday.