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U.S. stocks gain on data, hopes for budget deal, Dow gains 0.45%

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Shutterstock photo - U.S. stock prices rose on Thursday after House Speaker John Boehner said he'll continue to work with President Barack Obama on ways to avoid a year-end combo of tax hikes and spending cuts that could potentially tip the U.S. economy into a recession next year.

Solid growth and factory data pushed up stock prices as well.

At the close of U.S. trading, the Dow Jones Industrial Average finished up 0.45%, the S&P 500 index was up 0.55%, while the Nasdaq Composite index rose 0.20%.

Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives were set to vote on a budget proposal tabled by Speaker Boehner, which called for tax hikes on incomes over USD1 million, well above a White House proposal calling for tax hikes on incomes topping USD400,000.

President Obama has said he would veto the Boehner plan, which spooked investors earlier though Boehner reassured markets that he would continue to work with the White House to find an exit strategy out of the budgetary impasse.

Solid data pushed up stock prices as well.

In the U.S., official data released earlier showed that manufacturing activity in the Philadelphia-region expanded at its fastest pace in eight months in December.

The Philly Fed manufacturing index rose to 8.1 in December from -10.7 in November, far better than expectations for a reading of -3.0.

Elsewhere, the National Association of Realtors reported earlier that existing home sales rose by 5.9% to a seasonally adjusted 5.04 million units in November, beating market calls for U.S. existing home sales to rise 2.3% to 4.87 million units.

Revised government data showed that the U.S. economy grew by an annualized 3.1% in the third quarter of this year, up from a preliminary estimates of 2.7% and also above market calls for 2.8% growth.

On the labor front, the U.S. Department of Labor reported that weekly initial jobless claims last week rose by 17,000 to 361,000.

Market were expecting an increase of 13,000 to 357,000.

Leading Dow Jones Industrial Average performers included Bank of America, up 2.95%, JPMorgan Chase & Co., up 2.30%, and Walt Disney, up 1.98%.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average's worst performers included Merck, down 3.44%, Caterpillar, down 0.85%, and Intel, down 0.34%.

European indices, meanwhile, finished mixed.

After the close of European trade, the EURO STOXX 50 rose 0.14%, France's CAC 40 rose 0.06%, while Germany's DAX 30 finished down 0.05%. Meanwhile, in the U.K. the FTSE 100 lost 0.05% as well.

On Friday, the U.S. will unveil revised data on consumer sentiment from the University of Michigan, as well as government data on personal income and spending.

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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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