Stocks Move Mostly Higher Following Upbeat Data

Stocks have moved mostly higher in morning trading on Friday, offsetting the modest pullback seen in the previous session. With the upward move on the day, the major averages have reached new record intraday highs.

Currently, the major averages are just off their highs of the session. The Dow is up 51.36 points or 0.2 percent at 22,892.37, the Nasdaq is up 23.61 points or 0.4 percent at 6,615.12 and the S&P 500 is up 5.88 points or 0.2 percent at 2,556.81.

The strength on Wall Street comes following the release of some upbeat economic data, including a Commerce Department report showing a substantial increase in retail sales in the month of September.

The Commerce Department said retail sales surged up by 1.6 percent in September after edging down by a revised 0.1 percent in August.

Higher gas prices contributed to the jump in retail sales, as sales by gasoline stations soared by 5.8 percent during the month.

Closely watched core retail sales, which exclude automobiles, gasoline, building materials and food services, rose by 0.4 percent.

The University of Michigan also released a report showing an unexpected improvement in consumer sentiment in the month of October.

The report said the consumer sentiment index jumped to 101.1 in October after dipping to 95.1 in September. Economists had expected the index to edge down to 95.0.

With the unexpected increase, the consumer sentiment index surged up to its highest level reaching 103.8 in January of 2004.

A separate report from the Labor Department showed consumer prices increased by slightly less than expected in the month of September.

The Labor Department said its consumer price index climbed by 0.5 percent in September after rising by 0.4 percent in August. Economists had expected prices to increase by 0.6 percent.

Excluding food and energy prices, core consumer prices inched up by 0.1 percent in September after edging up by 0.2 percent in August. Core prices had been expected to rise by another 0.2 percent.

Traders are…

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