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Stocks Finish Higher on Promising Economic Data

Meantime, consumer confidence improved to 72.2 in October, which was up from 68.4 in September, but was a little softer than the 74 reading analysts expected.

Nonfarm business productivity for the third quarter increased 1.9% as the second-quarter number was revised upward to 2.2%, which was in step with the revision to gross domestic product. Labor costs dipped 0.1%; the consensus was for a 1.2% increase, according to Econoday.

The FTSE 100 in London jumped 1.37%, helped in part by Shell's earnings, while the DAX in Germany closed up 1.03%. Asian markets received a jolt after China's October manufacturing PMI reading reached an eight-month high of 49.5, which was up from a prior month 47.9 and beat the 49.1 consensus among economists polled by Econoday.

Japan's Nikkei average rose 0.21% overnight to close at 8947. Hong Kong's Hang Seng rose 0.83% to 21,821.

Gold for December delivery shed $3.60 to settle at $1,715.50 an ounce at the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange, while December crude oil contracts closed up 85 cents to $87.09 a barrel.

The benchmark 10-year Treasury dipped 8/32, boosting the yield to 1.725%. The dollar was up 0.10%, according to the U.S. dollar index .

Elsewhere on the corporate news front, Royal Dutch Shell, the U.K. oil giant, reported that third-quarter core earnings declined 15% as oil and gas prices fell, but saw a 2.3% increase in third-quarter profit thanks to higher earnings from its liquefied natural gas operations.

Also, U.S. retailers reported October sales rose 4.7%, compared to a final estimate of analysts who expected 4.3%, according to Thomson Reuters. Wholesale giant Costco (COST) said same-store sales rose 7% in October, which beat analysts' estimates, but its stock dipped 1.3%.

Automaker Ford (F) reported that its total retail sales grew 2% in October, with cars and utilities up 2%, and F-Series pickups up 8%. Shares of Ford increased 0.81%.

General Motors (GM) posted an October monthly U.S. sales increase of 5% year over year. Sales to fleet customers were off 2%. Shares ticked up 0.71%.
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