U.S. stocks rise modestly amid economic data

NEW YORK, Aug. 18 (Xinhua) -- U.S. stocks eked out modest gains on Thursday as investors parsed a slew of economic data.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 18.72 points, or 0.06 percent, to 33,999.04. The S&P 500 was up 9.70 points, or 0.23 percent, to 4,283.74. The Nasdaq Composite Index increased 27.22 points, or 0.21 percent, to 12,965.34.

Seven of the 11 primary S&P 500 sectors ended in green, with energy and technology up 2.53 percent and 0.49 percent, respectively, outpacing the rest. Real estate dipped 0.75 percent, the worst-performing group.

The U.S. Labor Department reported Thursday that the nation's initial jobless claims, a rough way to measure layoffs, fell by 2,000 to 250,000 in the week ending Aug. 13. Economists polled by the Wall Street Journal had forecast new claims to total 260,000.

Investors also assessed the minutes from the Federal Reserve's July meeting.

The minutes released Wednesday showed that the central bank would continue its interest rate hiking campaign to tame inflation, while signaling caution with the pace of coming increases.

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