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US Indexes Higher at Session's Half; Durable Goods, Factory Orders Slip

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Stocks are higher at the session's half as optimism grows over the potential that European leaders will reach an agreement on the debt crisis there. Meanwhile, new data showed slowing in the U.S. service sector along with slipping orders for durable goods, which served to check any Europe-inspired gains.

In U.S. economic data, new orders for factory goods fell 0.4% in October following a drop of 0.1% in September, according to the Commerce Department. That met economists expectations Durable goods orders fell 0.5%.

Also, the Institute for Supply Management services index fell to 52% last month from 52.9% in October. Economists had expected a reading of 54%, according to a MarketWatch poll. The reading was the worst since January of 2010, MarketWatch noted.

Overseas, Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti is set to propose a $40 billion slate of austerity and growth measures that will cut Italy's debt, notes Bloomberg in a report. Also, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Nicolas Sarkozy addressed a news conference where the two leaders pushed a plan for better enforcement of the eurozone's deficit rules.

Commodities are higher as February gold contracts are down 0.59% to $1,741 an ounce while January crude oil contacts are up 0.54% to $101.50 a barrel.

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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