Stocks Opened Slightly Higher as Fed Signaled More Rate Hikes

U.S. stocks opened slightly higher on Thursday as investors continued to digest the statement of a faster path of interest-rate increases in 2017 from the Federal Reserve. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lately rose 53.52 points, or 0.27%, to 19,846.05. The S&P 500 gained 5.11 points, or 0.23%, to 2,258.39. The Nasdaq Composite added 14.11 points, or 0.26%, to 5,450.78.

US jobless claims fell last week. The number of Americans who applied for unemployment benefits in early December fell by 4,000 to 254,000, reflecting the extremely low level of layoffs taking place in the economy.

U.S. consumer prices moderated in November, but the underlying trend continued to point to firming inflation pressures amid rising rents, which could support more interest rate increases from the Federal Reserve next year.

The Labor Department said on Thursday its Consumer Price Index rose 0.2 percent last month as gasoline price increases slowed and food costs remained soft.
Crude prices unexpectedly rose Thursday despite the U.S. Federal Reserve’s move to increase interest rates and a report pointing to increased output from OPEC. The February contract for Brent was up 0.98% at $54.43 while West Texas Intermediate gained 0.59% to $51.34 for January deliveries.

Broadcaster Sky and 21st Century Fox have reached agreement on the terms of a takeover deal. Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox will pay £11.7bn for the 61% stake it does not already own.

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