Stocks Opened Higher Ahead of Fed Move

U.S. stocks began higher on Wednesday on hopes of further monetary easing by the Federal Reserve and as budget negotiations continue on Capitol Hill. Extending gains into a sixth session, the Dow industrials lately climbed 35.56 points, or 0.27%, to 13,284.00. The S&P 500 added 3.97 points, or 0.28%, to 1,431.81. The Nasdaq Composite climbed 4.32 points, or 0.14%, to 3,026.62.

More public jousting in the “fiscal cliff” talks is expected from Democrats and Republicans on Wednesday in what has become a daily ritual of demanding more specific proposals to avert the steep tax hikes and budget cuts set for the end of the year.

Import prices recorded the biggest drop in five months in November as food and fuel costs tumbled, keeping inflation pressures subdued against the backdrop of a weak economy. The Labor Department said on Wednesday import prices fell 0.9 percent after three straight months of gains. October’s data was revised to show a 0.3 percent increase rather than the previously reported 0.5 percent gain.

The U.S. economy will temporarily go over the fiscal cliff, before lawmakers come under enough pressure to force them to reach a comprehensive agreement, according to Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Analytics. In a report outlining his U.S. economic outlook for 2013, Zandi said fiscal policy will continue to drag on U.S. growth next year, but gain traction in the second-half of the year, driven by the private sector.

Costco’s ( COST)  fiscal first-quarter net income rose 30 percent on better sales and more revenue from membership fees at its warehouse clubs. The company said Wednesday that it earned $416 million, or 95 cents per share, for the period that ended Nov. 25. That compares with $320 million, or 73 cents per share, a year ago. Revenue rose 10 percent to $23.72 billion from $21.63 billion.

Avon Products plans to cut about 1,500 jobs and exit two Asian markets, as the struggling beauty products seller starts on a broad restructuring plan in an effort to turn around results.






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