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Stocks End Higher on Debt-Ceiling Deal; Jobless Claims Fall to 326,000

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said Thursday that Democrats have reached an agreement with Republicans to extend the debt ceiling until early December.

Stocks finished sharply higher Thursday as investors looked to a short-term fix in the debt-ceiling saga and an easing of tensions between Washington and Beijing.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished up nearly 1% to 34,755, the S&P 500 advanced 0.83%, while the Nasdaq gained 1.05%.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-New York) said Thursday he's reached an agreement, with Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) that would extend the debt ceiling until early December. A vote is planned for later today, he added.

McConnell said late Wednesday that he'd support a specific, time-limited extension to the $28.4 trillion debt ceiling in order to allow Democrats time to pass a longer-term solution through reconciliation, a complicated process. 

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President Joe Biden will meet China's President Xi Jingping before the end of the year, administration officials said late Wednesday. The virtual summit would be the first direct talks between the two world leaders since last year's election.

Applications for jobless benefits for the week ending on Oct. 2 were pegged at 326,000, down from the prior period's upwardly revised total of 364,000 and ahead of the Wall Street consensus forecast. The post-pandemic low remains at 310,000, recorded over the week of Sept. 9.

General Motors  (GM) - Get General Motors Company (GM) Report climbed after after the largest U.S. automaker unveiled plans to double its annual revenue by the end of the decade.

AT&T  (T) - Get AT&T Inc. Report advanced as the stock went ex-dividend and investors reacted to a price target upgrade to $28 a share from Moffett Nathanson. Late Wednesday, Reuters reported details of AT&T's funding to the far-right conspiracy media group OAN.

Levi Strauss  (LEVI) - Get Levi Strauss & Co. Class A Report shares climbed after the casual apparel maker posted stronger-than-expected third quarter sales.