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While you were sleeping: Wall Street climbs

While you were sleeping: Wall Street climbs

Sept. 17 (BusinessDesk) - Wall Street advanced as a report showed a gauge of US inflation was unchanged in August, which helped fuel expectations Federal Reserve policy makers might hold on to their plan to keep interest rates low for a “considerable time.”

Fed policy makers began their two-day gathering on Tuesday. Fed Chair Janet Yellen, who will hold a press conference at the end of the meeting on Wednesday, is likely to raise interest rates only gradually between 2015 and 2017 as inflation remains muted, according to a Bloomberg survey of economists.

The US producer price index was unchanged last month, following a 0.1 percent increase in July, according to a Labor Department report. The report was in line with expectations.

"If Yellen is looking for evidence of slack in the economy, and thinking that inflation is too low, then PPI final demand prices fill the bill this morning," Chris Rupkey, chief financial economist at MUFG Union Bank in New York, told Reuters.

In late afternoon trading in New York, the Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed 0.72 percent, the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index rose 0.89 percent and the Nasdaq Composite Index gained 0.77 percent.

Advances in shares of Exxon Mobil and those of UnitedHealth, up 1.7 percent and 1.5 percent respectively, led the Dow higher.

Energy stocks rose with oil after OPEC Secretary-General Abdalla Salem el-Badri signalled the group expects to cut its production target.

OPEC producers are "preparing themselves to adjust to the new supply reality out there," John Kilduff, founding partner of Again Capital in New York, told Reuters.

Also helping gains was a report that China’s central bank is starting a 500 billion yuan (US$81.4 billion) standing lending-facility to the nation’s five biggest banks, Bloomberg News reported. The report cited Guotai Junan banking analyst Qiu Guanhua at Guotai Junan Securities.

In Europe, the Stoxx 600 ended the session with a 0.3 percent decline from the previous close, as did Germany’s DAX. France’s CAC 40 declined 0.4 percent.

The UK’s FTSE 100 Index fell 0.2 percent. Voters in Scotland are gearing up for the September 18 referendum on independence from the UK. Nationalists have a 45 percent chance of winning the referendum, and there’s a risk of a capital flight from the country if that happens, according to a Bloomberg survey of economists.

"With the uncertainty around the Scottish election, we're seeing a bit of a risk-off mentality, with investors prepared to sit on cash,” Dafydd Davies, partner at Charles Hanover Investments, told Reuters.

(BusinessDesk)

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