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Overnight Markets: Optimism over budget talks boosts Wall Street

Telecommunications and healthcare stocks were the day's best-performing sectors, while tech shares helped the Nasdaq outperform the broader market.

 
Overnight Markets: Optimism over budget talks boosts Wall Street

Wall Street gained on Thursday as investors remained hopeful that U.S. policymakers will reach a resolution in federal budget negotiations.

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 37 points, or 0.28%, to 13,022 at the close. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index gained six points, or 0.43%, to 1,416. The Nasdaq Composite Index advanced 20 points, or 0.68%, to close at 3,012.

Stocks gained earlier as a report showed Americans signed more contracts in October to purchase previously owned homes. Separately, revised figures from the Commerce Department showed that gross domestic product grew at a 2.7% annual rate, up from a 2% prior estimate.

But Wall Street reversed early gains in choppy trading after House Speaker John Boehner dashed hopes that lawmakers were getting closer to a budget deal. The market rebounded by afternoon.

Telecommunications and healthcare stocks were the day's best-performing sectors, while tech shares helped the Nasdaq outperform the broader market.

U.S.-listed shares of BlackBerry maker Research In Motion added 4% after Goldman Sachs upgraded the stock to "buy" from "neutral" on optimism ahead of the launch of the BlackBerry 10 smartphone.

Advanced Micro Devices Inc shares gained 4.1% on plans to sell and lease back its campus in Austin, Texas.

Kroger Co. jumped 4.8% after boosting its profit projection for the year. Walt Disney Co. added 1.1% after raising its dividend.

On the negative side, retailers retreated in the wake of data showing a weak start to November sales after Superstorm Sandy. Kohl's Corp fell 12%.

Tiffany shed 6.2% after the upscale jeweller reported quarterly results and cut its full-year sales and profit forecasts.

Supervalu sank 18.6% after a report that Cerberus Capital Management was having difficulty obtaining financing to buy out the troubled grocery chain.

In Asia, shares gained on Friday as Japan’s cabinet agreed to an economic stimulus package and industrial production unexpectedly increased.

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