Stocks Ended Up after Strong Data, Yellen Testimony

U.S. stocks finished higher on Thursday after Federal Reserve Chairwoman hinted at a December interest-rate hike, and a batch of sanguine economic data painted an encouraging picture of the U.S. economy. The Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed 35.68 points, or 0.219%, to 18,903.82. The S&P 500 added 10.18 points, or 0.47%, to 2,187.12. The Nasdaq Composite climbed 39.39 points, or 0.74%, to 5,333.97.

Yellen said the U.S. central bank would change its outlook as necessary as the new administration rolls out plans for perhaps hundreds of billions of dollars in tax cuts and additional government spending. She also suggested the new government keep in mind that the United States is near full employment and inflation may be rising.

U.S. oil refiner Tesoro said on Thursday it would buy Western Refining for $4.1 billion to add refineries in Texas, New Mexico and Minnesota. The combined company will have refining capacity of over 1.1 million barrels per day.

Oil futures turned lower late in Thursday’s session as some traders remained skeptical that members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries will adhere to individual production quotas. December West Texas Intermediate crude declined by 15 cents, or 0.3%, to settle at $45.42 a barrel. January Brent crude shed 14 cents, or 0.3%, to $46.49 a barrel.

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