Stocks Opened Mildly Higher Ahead of Fed, German Court

U.S. stocks began with modest gains Tuesday ahead of possible policy acton from the U.S. Federal Open Market Committee and  key decisions this week by Germany’s top court. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lately gained 51.46 points, or 0.39%, to  13,305.75. The S&P 500 index rose 5.18 points, or 0.36%, to 1,434.26. The Nasdaq Composite climbed 9.02 points, or 0.29%, to 3,113.04.

Analysts at Moody’s Investors Service would like to see some constructive action taken by the White House and Capitol Hill on the federal debt, saying in a report Tuesday that this would be a key factor in determining whether the agency will change its ratings outlook for U.S. government debt. The rating stands at Aaa with an outlook of “negative.” If budget negotiations “lead to specific policies that produce a stabilization and then downward trend” in the ratio of federal debt to gross domestic product in the medium term, Moody’s said it would likely reaffirm the Aaa rating and change the outlook to “stable.”

Small business sentiment rose in August for the first time in four months as more owners anticipated better business conditions after the November 6 elections and increased sales. The National Federation of Independent Business said on Tuesday its optimism index rose 1.7 points to 92.9 last month.

McDonald’s Corp (MCD) reported a weaker-than-expected 3.7 percent rise in August sales at established restaurants around the world on Tuesday. August same-restaurant sales were up 3 percent in the United States and up 3.1 percent in Europe.

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