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New York City (AFP) – U.S. stocks Wednesday opened higher after October retail sales bested expectations on a busy day of economic news.

Five minutes into trade, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 17.75 (0.11 percent) to 15,984.78.

The broad-based S&P 500 tacked on 3.72 (0.21 percent) at 1,791.59, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index increased 13.87 (0.35 percent) to 3,945.43.

Americans spent 0.4 percent more on retail and food services last month, the Commerce Department reported.

The report had been forecast to show an increase of just 0.1 percent, and suggested U.S. consumers had not been as worried as expected during the tense Washington budget standoff that partially shuttered the U.S. government for more than two weeks last month.

Wednesday’s economic calendar also includes a release of existing home sales and minutes from the most recent Federal Reserve policy meeting.

AFP Photo/Andrew Burton

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Joel Greenberg

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

Unlike his ally Joel Greenberg — the Florida county tax collector who is facing federal sex trafficking charges — Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida hasn't yet been charged with federal crimes. Gaetz has vehemently denied suggestions that he was sexually involved with a 17-year-old girl, but that possibility is reported to be investigated by the U.S. Department of Justice. And a WhatsApp chat from August 14, 2020 that Politico has obtained information on sheds some light on the charges that Greenberg is facing.

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