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U.S. Stocks Extend Moderate Gains amid Hopes for Growth, Various Data

U.S. stocks wrapped up the week on an upbeat note with mild gains, as the market was underpinned by a batch of multiple data, and Wall Street digested the European Central Bank's (ECB) fresh monetary decision, as well as the latest development on U.S.-China trade scenario, fueling hopes for global economic growth.

In the week ending Sept. 13, the Dow rose 1.58 percent. The S&P 500 gained 0.96 percent, and the Nasdaq rallied 0.91 percent.

This week marked generally positive trading sessions for the market with a mixed start and a tepid ending, with the three major indexes notching steady gains on Wednesday and Thursday.

On Friday, the three major indexes ended with minor gains and losses, as investors digested the latest retail sales that came above market expectations and rebounding consumer sentiment.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average increased 37.07 points, or 0.14 percent, to 27,219.52. The S&P 500 decreased 2.18 points, or 0.07 percent, to 3,007.39. The Nasdaq Composite Index was down 17.75 points, or 0.22 percent, to 8,176.71.

Wednesday saw the biggest daily gains of the week, as the market was buoyed by rising Producer Price Index (PPI) and sales of merchant wholesalers, as well as strong shares of Apple.

The tech giant notched 3.18 percent stock gains as of market close, the second best performers in the 30 blue-chip stocks in the Dow.

Apple has remained in the limelight and extended straight share gains since Tuesday afternoon, after the tech giant unveiled its latest flagship products, including a new generation of iPhone, iPad and Apple watch products.

The three major indexes continued to go up on Thursday, as investors were encouraged by the ECB's latest decision to cut rate and buy bond, as well as cheering development on U.S.-China trade situations.

The ECB decided to cut its main deposit rate by 10 basis points and unveiled a massive bond-buying program on Thursday, so as to shore up the sagging euro zone economy.

Under the quantitative easing program, the bank will purchase 20 billion euros (21.9 billion U.S. dollars) worth of net asset per month.

China on Wednesday unveiled the first set of U.S. goods to be excluded from the first round of additional tariffs on U.S. products, which will help effectively deal with economic and trade frictions and ease enterprises' burdens, experts said.

The exemption, which covers two lists with 16 categories of goods, will be valid from Sept. 17, 2019, to Sept. 16, 2020.

The first list includes 12 categories and allows affected import enterprises to apply for refunds of levied duties within six months starting Wednesday.

The second list includes four categories that will enjoy the exemption but are not eligible for tariff refunds.

Meanwhile, Wall Street has digested an array of primarily positive data.

On the economic front, consumer sentiment rebounded mildly in September to a reading of 92 from the sharp August decline, the University of Michigan said in its survey on Friday.

However, the reading still marked the third lowest level since U.S. President Donald Trump's election.

"Concerns about the impact of tariffs on the domestic economy also rose in early September, with 38% of all consumers making spontaneous references to the negative impact of tariffs, the highest percentage since March 2018," said Richard Curtin, a Surveys of Consumers chief economist, in the survey.

U.S. retail and food services sales for August rose 0.4 percent month over month to hit 526.1 billion U.S. dollars and was 4.1 percent above the August 2018 level, the U.S. Census Bureau said Friday.

The gains were mainly boosted by higher spending on motor vehicles and parts, as well as building materials.

The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) increased 0.1 percent in August on a seasonally adjusted basis after rising 0.3 percent in July, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics said Thursday.

Increases in the indexes for shelter and medical care were the major factors in the seasonally adjusted all items monthly increase, outweighing a decline in the energy index.

In the week ending Sept. 7, the initial jobless claims fell 15,000 to 204,000 from the previous week, the Labor Department said on Thursday.

The reading hit a nearly 5-month low. The 4-week moving average also declined to 212,500, down 4,250 from the previous week's level.

Total inventories of merchant wholesalers were 679.1 billion U.S. dollars at the end of July, up 0.2 percent from the revised June level and up 7.1 percent from the revised July 2018 level, the Census Bureau said on Wednesday.

Sales of merchant wholesalers in July registered 499.6 billion dollars, up 0.3 percent from the revised June level and virtually unchanged from the July 2018 level.

The PPI for final demand rose 0.1 percent in August, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported on Wednesday. Yet the gain came lower than the 0.2 percent increase in July.

The advance in final demand prices is attributable to a 0.3-percent increase in the index for final demand services in August. In contrast, prices for final demand goods fell 0.5 percent.

The number of job openings was little changed at 7.2 million on the last business day of July, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported on Tuesday. The job openings rate was 4.5 percent.

Over the month, hires edged up to 6 million and separations increased to 5.8 million. Within separations, the quits rate, and the layoffs and discharges rate were little changed at 2.4 percent and 1.2 percent, respectively.

(www.chinaview.cn 2019-09-16)