Dow and S&P 500 indexes are back at record highs

Associated Press
FILE - In this Monday, Nov. 4, 2013, file photo, a pair of traders work in a booth on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. World stock markets were mixed Wednesday, Nov. 6, 2013 with benchmarks in Asia flitting between gains and losses after an improvement in U.S. service industries reinforced expectations the Federal Reserve will reduce monetary stimulus. European markets gained. (AP Photo/Richard Drew, File)
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FILE - In this Monday, Nov. 4, 2013, file photo, a pair of traders work in a booth on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. World stock markets were mixed Wednesday, Nov. 6, 2013 with benchmarks in Asia flitting between gains and losses after an improvement in U.S. service industries reinforced expectations the Federal Reserve will reduce monetary stimulus. European markets gained. (AP Photo/Richard Drew, File)

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks rose in early trading Wednesday, sending major indexes back to record highs, as traders anticipated that the Federal Reserve will keep up its stimulus program for some time.

The Dow Jones industrial average was up 97 points, or 0.6 percent, to 15,717 in the first half-hour of trading. The Standard & Poor's 500 index was up 9 points, or 0.5 percent, to 1,772. Both indexes were above the record highs they closed at Oct. 29.

The Nasdaq composite rose 12 points, or 0.3 percent, to 3,952.

Traders took a lackluster retail sales report out of Europe on Wednesday as further evidence that European policymakers will trim interest rates again Thursday to maintain what so far been a shaky economic recovery in the region.

Germany's DAX rose 0.5 percent to 9,052 while the CAC-40 in France gained 1 percent to 4,292.

Investors will get a couple pieces of crucial U.S. economic data later this week. On Thursday, the Commerce Department will release a report on how well the U.S. economy performed in the third quarter and on Friday investors will get the October jobs report, which was delayed a week by the government shutdown.

Economists expect that the U.S. economy grew at an annualized pace of 2 percent in the third quarter, according to FactSet, a financial data provider, while the economy added 122,000 jobs in October. The unemployment rate is expected to edge higher to 7.3 percent from 7.2 percent in September.

Both pieces of data could give an indication of when the Federal Reserve will pull back its $85 billion-a-month bond-buying program, which is designed to keep interest rates low and boost the economy. The program also has a secondary effect of boosting stocks by making bonds look expensive by comparison.

In other corporate news:

— Twitter is expected to price its initial public offering some time Wednesday night. The company recently raised its price range to $23-$25 per share, following strong investor demand. The company is expected to start trading on the New York Stock Exchange on Thursday.

— Abercrombie & Fitch shares fell $2.26, or 6 percent, to $36.03. The teen apparel retailer cut its full-year profit forecast to a range of $1.40 to $1.50 per share, well below the $1.96 per share that analysts were anticipating. The company also reported a double-digit drop in sales for the third quarter.

— Tesla Motors shares sank $21.12, or 12 percent, to $155.61. The electric vehicle maker reported a loss of $38.5 million, or 32 cents per share, on sales of $431 million. That came in short of analysts' expectations, who were looking for a profit of 8 cents per share on sales of $547.5 million, according to FactSet.

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