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Stocks Open Higher Ahead of Fed Meeting

by Steve Rothwell
Tuesday Dec 11, 2012

NEW YORK - Stocks opened higher Tuesday ahead of a meeting of the Federal Reserve and possible additional steps to bolster the U.S. economy.

The Dow Jones industrial average was up 67.5 points at 13,236 as of 9:42 a.m. EST. The Standard & poor's 500 was up eight points at 1426. The Nasdaq composite was up 22 points at 3,008.

Delta Air Lines rose 27 cents to $10.61 after the company said it will buy almost half of Richard Branson's Virgin Atlantic for $360 million as it seeks a bigger share of the lucrative New York-to-London travel market.

AIG gained 78 cents to $34.14 after the U.S. Treasury Department said that it has sold all of its remaining shares in the insurer. AIG was bailed out by the government after nearly collapsing during the financial crisis.

Stocks have edged up since the start of the month, eking out small advances, as investors watch for developments in the "fiscal cliff" talks, the tax increases and federal spending cuts scheduled to start Jan. 1 unless a deal is reached to reduce the U.S. budget deficit. Economists say the measures, if implemented, could eventually push the economy back into recession.

Stocks are holding on to their gains for the year. The Dow Jones is up 8.3 percent since the start of the year, while the S&P 500 has gained 13.3 percent.

The yield on the 10-year Treasury note rose 3 basis points to 1.65 percent.

Other stocks making big moves:

-Urban Outfitters shares rose $2.07 to $39.14 after the company said that sales at stores are increasing in the high single digit range. The retailer, which operates Anthropologie, Free People and its namesake stores, reported its third-quarter results in November, which fell just short of market expectations.

-Dollar General fell $1.01 to $45.61 after the company said that while its sales over the Thanksgiving weekend and the start of the holiday shopping season were encouraging, it remains cautious about the rest of the year, noting that consumer spending remains tight.

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