Stocks Ended Higher, Oil Futures Dropped

U.S. stocks closed higher on Thursday, as investors weighed the likelihood of easier monetary policy against more evidence of a broadening domestic economic slowdown. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 122.42 points, or 0.47%, to 26,201.04. The S&P 500 added 23.02 points, or 0.80%, to 2,910.63. The Nasdaq Composite gained 87.02 points, or 1.12%, to 7,872.27.

Oil futures dropped on Thursday, with the U.S. benchmark suffering from an eighth straight daily decline and another finish at its lowest in two months, as worries over global demand persist.West Texas Intermediate crude for November delivery fell 19 cents, or 0.4%, to settle at $52.45 a barrel. December Brent erased earlier losses to tack on 2 cents, or 0.03%, to $57.71 a barrel.

The Institute for Supply Management’s index of the health U.S. services sector came in 52.6%, in September, down from 56.4% in August, suggesting growth is slowing rapidly. As a result investors bet the chances of another interest rate cut by the Federal Reserve at its late October meeting was now 90.3%, up from 77% on Wednesday and 49% a week ago, based on the CME’s Fedwatch indicator.

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