U.S. Stocks Wobble After Strong Reports on Retail Sales, Jobless Claims

By Liz Moyer — U.S. stocks fell in early trading and then turned higher on Thursday as investors tried to digest a slug of economic data ahead of the Federal Reserve’s meeting next week.

At 9:50 ET (13:50 GMT), the was up 45 points, or 0.2%, while the was flat and the was up 0.1%.

August’s report showed a gain of 0.3%, surpassing forecasts and a strong showing for the consumer despite inflation. Meanwhile, new came in at 213,000 last week, also beating expectations.

A strong labor market, the gain in retail sales, and a hotter-than-hoped-for August inflation report are pointing in the direction of another 0.75 percentage point interest rate increase , which would match the hikes from June and July. Some are even talking about the possibility the Fed hikes rates by a full percentage point in its quest to tame inflation.

A tentative agreement to avert a railroad worker strike is lifting shares of railroads, including Union Pacific Corporation (NYSE:), up 1.5%, and Norfolk Southern Corporation (NYSE:), up 1.3%.

Oil fell. was down more than 3%, to $85.75 a barrel, while crude was down 3% to $91.17 a share. fell 0.9% to $1693 an ounce.

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