Stocks Climb, Sending Dow To Another Record

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose to new highs Wednesday, as Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen struck a dovish tone in prepared testimony before the House Financial Services Committee.

The Dow Jones industrial average rose about 25 points, notching a record close, with Wal-Mart, Goldman Sachs and Apple contributing the most gains. The comments pushed the Dow up 0.6 percent to 21,532.14, a record high, but weighed on the dollar as traders priced in the potential for rates not to rise as rapidly as previously thought. The Shanghai Composite index climbed 0.6 percent at 3,218.16 and the S&P ASX 200 advanced 1.1 percent to 5,736.80. (TGT) said it now expects a surprise "modest increase" in same-store sales (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/targets-stock-jumps-after-raising-sales-profit-outlook-2017-07-13) for the fiscal second quarter, citing improved traffic and sales trends.

Big retail chains and other consumer-focused stocks were among the gainers.

US equities closed higher on Thursday as retailers rose, led by Target.

Snap Inc. surged 3% after Stifel Nicolaus upgraded the Snapchat parent to buy, saying that a recent selloff in the stock had created a "compelling" opportunity.

Crude oil dropped 0.9% to $45.08 a barrel, after climbing 1% on Wednesday following upbeat data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/oil-extends-gains-after-upbeat-us-production-data-2017-07-12). South Korea's Kospi gained 0.7 percent to 2,409.49. Brent crude, used to price worldwide oils, fell 30 cents to $47.44 per barrel.

The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks inched up 1.34 points, or 0.1 percent, to 1,425.66. In Asia, Hong Kong's Hang Seng index jumped 1.2 percent after a report showed that Chinese trade growth accelerated for a second month in June. PayPal gained $1.35, or 2.4 percent, to $57.90.

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