Stock Ended Higher on Gaza Cease-fire

U.S. stocks finished modestly higher on Wednesday, although trading volume was one of the year’s lowest on the day ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday, after a cease-fire deal was reported in the Gaza Strip. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 48.38 points, or 0.38%, to 12,836.89. The S&P 500 index gained 3.22 points, or 0.23%, to 1,391.03. The Nasdaq Composite climbed 9.87 points, or 0.34%, to 2,926.55.

A truce between Israel and Hamas gave stocks some support around midday after Egypt announced a ceasefire would come into effect later in the day.

Manufacturing grew in November at its quickest pace in five months, with a rise in domestic demand hinting that factories could provide a boost to economic growth in the fourth quarter.Other data on Wednesday showed a drop in new claims for jobless benefits, although they remained elevated due to superstorm Sandy, and only a marginal improvement in consumer sentiment.

Despite stores falling over themselves with incentives and earlier openings than ever this Thanksgiving, fewer people are expected to turn up for Black Friday sales. An estimated 147 million shoppers plan to shop this coming weekend, down from 220 million last year, according to the industry trade group the National Retail Federation.

Former Autonomy founder and CEO Michael Lynch was interviewed about specific transactions at his former company, sources told CNBC Wednesday, raising questions about whether he was aware of questionable accounting tactics at the software firm.

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