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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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Nothing is more predictable than Republicans complaining about budget deficits and federal spending — as soon as a Democrat enters the White House.

Wasteful fiscal decisions, especially cutting taxes for their wealthiest donors, never trouble these self-proclaimed "conservatives" in the slightest. But let a liberal spend a few dollars on a hungry child's breakfast or a teacher's salary and suddenly their hair catches fire.

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