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U.S. stocks up on data, hopes for dovish Yellen speech; Dow rises 0.36%

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Shutterstock photo - - U.S. stocks rose on Thursday, boosted by a double shot of positive U.S. data coupled with expectations that Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen will deliver a market-friendly speech at the Fed's annual symposium in Jackson Hole, Wyoming.

At the close of U.S. trading, the Dow 30 rose 0.36%, the S&P 500 index rose 0.29%, while the NASDAQ Composite index rose 0.12%.

The Volatility S&P 500 index, which measures the outlook for market volatility, was down 0.34% at 11.74.

The Federal Reserve released the minutes of its July policy meeting on Wednesday, and the document revealed that interest rates could rise sooner rather than later if the labor market continues to recover.

Stocks rose on Thursday even amid sentiments that buying costs are set to rise, as many investors bet Fed Chair Janet Yellen will provide dovish words in a Jackson Hole speech on Friday to complement the hawkish minutes in order to convey to markets that even though rates will rise, monetary authorities will make sure they do so gradually.

Upbeat U.S. data also boosted stock prices.

The Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia said that its manufacturing index topped a three-year high of 28.0 this month from July's 23.9 reading. Analysts had expected the index to decline to 19.2 in July.

Separately, market research group Markit said that its preliminary U.S. manufacturing purchasing managers' index increased to a four-year high of 58.0 this month from a final reading of 55.8 in July. Analysts had expected the index to ease down to 55.7 in August.

Data also showed that U.S. existing home sales increased 2.4% to 5.15 million units last month from 5.03 million in June. Analysts had expected existing home sales to dip 0.4% to 5.02 million units in July.

Also on Thursday, the U.S. Department of Labor said the number of individuals filing for initial jobless benefits in the week ending Aug. 16 decreased by 14,000 to 298,000 from the previous week's revised total of 312,000.

Analysts had expected jobless claims to fall by 12,000 to 300,000 last week.

Leading Dow Jones Industrial Average performers included Intel Corporation (NASDAQ:INTC), up 1.83%, J P Morgan Chase & Co (NYSE:JPM), up 1.48%, and Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ), up 0.95%.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average's worst performers included Merck & Company Inc (NYSE:MRK), down 1.08%, Exxon Mobil Corporation (NYSE:XOM), down 0.42%, and Pfizer Inc (NYSE:PFE), down 0.26%.

European indices, meanwhile, ended the day higher.

After the close of European trade, the DJ Euro Stoxx 50 rose 1.26%, France's CAC 40 rose 1.23%, while Germany's DAX rose 0.93%. Meanwhile, in the U.K. the FTSE 100 rose 0.33%.

On Friday, expect markets to move on speeches delivered by Fed Chair Janet Yellen and ECB President Mario Draghi at the annual economic symposium in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. offers an extensive set of professional tools for the financial markets.

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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.

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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