Stocks Stretch Wins into Fourth Session

U.S. stocks were slightly positive after wavering most of the day on Wednesday, closing a quiet end to a wild month for financial markets. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 53.58 points, or 0.46%, to 11,613.53 but lost 4.4% for the month. The S&P 500 gained 5.97 points, or 0.49%, to 1,218.89 but lost 5.7% for the month. The Nasdaq Composite added 3.35 points, or 0.13%, to 2,579.46, off 6.4% for the month.

Unemployment rates fell in a majority of U.S. cities in July, despite a weak economy that is producing few jobs. The Labor Department said Wednesday that unemployment rates dropped in 193 large metro areas, increased in 118 and were flat in 61.

Orders for goods produced in U.S. factories rose 2.4% in July, the Commerce Department reported Wednesday. Economists surveyed by MarketWatch expected orders to rise a seasonally adjusted 2.0%. Factory orders fell a revised 0.4% in June, down from a prior estimate of a 0.8% decline. Orders for durable goods – products meant to last at least three years – climbed 4.1% in July. Orders for nondurable goods edged up 1.0%.

President Obama plans to unveil his new economic stimulus plan in a prime-time speech to Congress on Wednesday, Sept. 7, White House spokesman Jay Carney said Wednesday. The speech is now scheduled at the same time as a scheduled debate among Republican presidential candidates.

Crude-oil futures edged down Wednesday. Crude for October delivery declined 9 cents, or 0.1%, to settle at $88.81 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

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