A man sweeps burning charcoal as he participates in the traditional ritual called "Lianhuo", or "fire walking," in Pan'an county, Zhejiang province Nov. 25, 2013.
Stocks inched north on a busy day of economic data ahead of the holiday.
First, the scoreboard:
- Dow: 16,097.20 (+24.40, 0.15%)
- S&P 500: 1,807.23 (+4.48, 0.25%)
- NASDAQ: 4,044.75 (+27.00, 0.67%)
And now the top stories:
- The November purchasing manager's index for the ISM's Chicago division hit 63 . The better than expected print marked a two-year high. “Having kept inventories lean for so long, a pick-up in demand has led to a sharp rise in stock building among the companies in our panel. And to handle the latest production and new orders boost, companies are hiring at the fastest pace for two years,” MNI chief economist Philip Uglow said.
- Initial jobless claims fell to 316,000 , better than the 330,000 economists had expected. Last week's 323,000 print was revised up to 326,000 as well. "We believe that the timing of the Thanksgiving holiday is likely a contributing factor behind the unexpected decline in initial jobless claims this week. According to MNI, the Labor Department cited no unusual readings in the state level data, but also noted that the combination of the Veterans Day holiday last week plus the later-than-normal Thanksgiving holiday makes it more difficult to properly seasonally adjust the data," wrote Barclays' Michael Gapen.
- Durable goods orders dropped by 2.0% in October. Excluding transportation, orders fell 0.1%, missing expectations for a 0.5% gain. "The continuing slump in US non-defencs capital goods (ex. aircraft) orders and shipments suggests that business equipment investment contracted over the entire second half of this year," Capital Economics Paul Ashworth wrote clients. "The survey evidence on capex intentions has been pointing to a rebound in equipment investment for some time now, but it just isn't coming through in the actual hard data."
- The University of Michigan Consumer Confidence measure jumped to 75.1 in November , beating economist expectations for 73.1. "W e expect improvement in housing and labor markets to keep confidence on a broadly upward trend in the medium term despite the risks from further negative policy shocks," Barclays' Cooper Howes wrote clients after the release.
- Bitcoin, everyone's favorite digital currency, hit $1,000 today on the Mt. Gox exchange. Demand from China has helped boost the price this month. Cryptocurrencies in general have been getting more attention lately , so check out our profile of Litecoin ("the silver to Bitcoin's gold").
- The Italian Senate voted to strip Silvio Berlusconi of his seat after his August conviction for tax fraud, thus removing his parliamentary immunity from being arrested as a case unfolds.
- Don't Miss: GOLDMAN: Here Are 25 Stocks That Hedge Funds Are Shorting Like Crazy »
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