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Wall Street Ends Marginally Higher Following Mixed Federal Statements

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As investors analyzed contradictory statements made by Federal Reserve officials, US stocks concluded Tuesday's trading day with slight gains, helped in part by positive consumer statistics.

Although all three main US stock indexes lost momentum while the session went on, they finished the range-bound session higher.

According to Senior vice president Oliver Pursche of Wealthspire Advisors in New York, given November's impressive performance, investors have every reason to be hopeful as the year draws to a close.

Market players are currently examining statements made by monetary policymakers in advance of the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting that takes place next month.

As inflation continues to approach the Federal Reserve's 2% target, Federal Governor Christopher Waller stated on Tuesday that he is more and more confident that the present level of the policy rate set by the central bank is appropriately restrictive. Waller even implied the possibility of cutting rates in the coming months.

Austan Goolsbee, president of the Chicago Fed, highlighted the decline in inflation, which has occurred at a rate not seen since the 1950s.

At the same time, comments made by Federal Governor Michelle Bowman indicated that another rate increase would be required to control inflation in a timely manner.

Pursche continued that each time the Fed approaches the conclusion of a cycle, there will be a mixed message from the Fed, with some FOMC members and Fed governors feeling more strongly that it's time to cease tightening. This is rather normal.

When the FOMC meets next month, financial markets have priced in a nearly definite 98.9% chance that it will leave the federal funds target rate at between 5.25% and 5.50%. This is based on the FedWatch tool of CME.

The National Retail Federation survey data indicates that shoppers are expected to spend almost 5% more this year, signaling the start of the critical holiday shopping season.

This is consistent with consumer confidence statistics from the Conference Board that were published early on Tuesday and surprised to the positive since near-term expectations were enhanced.

The Commerce Department is scheduled to issue its comprehensive Personal Consumption Expenditures data later this week, which includes information on spending, income, and most importantly, inflation. It is also expected to disclose its second forecast for the third-quarter GDP.

The S&P 500 climbed 4.46 points to 4,554.89, the Nasdaq Composite gained 40.73 points to 14,281.76, and the Dow Jones Industrial Average increased by 83.51 points to 35,416.98.

Consumer discretionary shares posted the biggest percentage gain among the S&P 500's 11 key sectors, with eight of them closing in the positive zone. Healthcare stocks experienced the largest percentage loss of the day.

Following an upgrade from "sector perform" to "outperform" by RBC Capital Markets, Boeing saw a 1.4% increase in price.

After the Chinese e-commerce company PDD Holdings exceeded revenue projections, its US-listed shares saw an increase of 18.1%.

Affirm Holdings increased 11.5%, maintaining its gains from Cyber Monday.

After announcing that it anticipates greater first-quarter operating costs than previously anticipated, chipmaker Micron Technology's shares fell 1.8%.

On the New York Stock Exchange, advancing issues exceeded decliners by a ratio of 1.24 to 1; on Nasdaq, decliners were favored by a ratio of 1.07 to 1.

Twenty new 52-week highs along with a new low were posted by the S&P 500, while the Nasdaq Composite saw 61 new highs and 103 new lows.

The volume of shares traded on US exchanges was 10.03 billion, compared with the average of 10.41 billion for the entire session for the previous 20 trading days.

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