Stocks Close Higher on Economic Reports

U.S. stocks closed higher on Thursday, with the S&P 500 index posting a fourth day of gains, after weekly data offered a mostly positive read on the U.S. economy a day before the September jobs report. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 80.75 points, or 0.60 percent, to end at 13,575.36. The S&P 500 rose 10.41 points, or 0.72 percent, to close at 1,461.40. The Nasdaq Composite added 14.23 points, or 0.45 percent, to finish at 3,149.46.

The U.S. Federal Reserve may adopt numerical thresholds for inflation and joblessness that would serve as guideposts for monetary policy, according to meeting minutes that revealed some reservations about the central bank’s latest stimulus. The Fed last month launched a third round of large-scale bonds buys, announcing an open-ended program that kicks off with $40 billion per month of new mortgage debt purchases. Minutes of the Fed’s September 12-13 meeting released on Thursday showed officials were broadly in agreement that more policy stimulus was needed given the meager economic recovery.

Oil prices rose on Thursday as Turkey’s retaliatory strikes on a Syria sparked additional concern about potential disruptions to Middle East oil supply, while U.S. gasoline futures rallied after a fire at a refinery in Texas. Crude for November delivery rose $3.57, or 4.1%, to settle at $91.71 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

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