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New York City (AFP) – U.S. stocks Wednesday pushed to fresh all-time highs after a strong earnings report from Macy’s raised hopes about the upcoming holiday shopping season.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average increased 70.96 points (0.45 percent) to 15,821.63, a new record.

The broad-based S&P 500 rose 14.31 (0.81 percent) to 1,782.00, also a new record, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index advanced 45.66 (1.16 percent) to 3,965.58

Macy’s shot up 9.4 percent after earnings of 47 cents per share exceeded expectations by 8 cents and the company projected full-year profits that exceeded forecasts.

“We are entering the fourth quarter with confidence,” said Macy’s chief executive Terry Lundgren.

Art Hogan, head of product strategy for equity research at Lazard Capital Markets, said the Macy’s results raised hopes of better news from other retailers, including Wal-Mart, which reports earnings before the market opens Thursday.

“It’s a better view of the health of the consumer than we had a few weeks ago,” Hogan said.

Among other retailers, Target rose 2.2 percent, Williams-Sonoma gained 1.2 percent, Costco increased 0.6 percent and Wal-Mart nudged 0.2 percent higher.

Some leading technology companies also prospered, including Facebook (+4.5 percent), Google (+2.0 percent) and Dow component Microsoft (+2.1 percent).

Auto giant General Motors jumped 4.9 percent after a US Treasury report showed the government sold more shares in October than expected. Sterne Agee predicted the US government would exit the investment by year-end, which it rated “a positive catalyst” for the stock.

Ford Motor rose 2.3 percent.

Starbucks advanced 1.1 percent after an independent arbitrator ordered the coffee company to pay $2.7 billion over a failed distribution deal with Kraft, at the time owned by Mondelez. Mondelez, which will receive the payment, rose 2.7 percent. Kraft increased 1.1 percent.

Bond prices rose. The yield on the 10-year US Treasury fell to 2.73 percent from 2.77 percent Tuesday, while the 30-year declined to 3.83 percent from 3.86 percent. Bond prices and yields move inversely.


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Jeff Danziger lives in New York City. He is represented by CWS Syndicate and the Washington Post Writers Group. He is the recipient of the Herblock Prize and the Thomas Nast (Landau) Prize. He served in the US Army in Vietnam and was awarded the Bronze Star and the Air Medal. He has published eleven books of cartoons, a novel and a memoir. Visit him at DanzigerCartoons.

Kathy Barnette

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