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US: Stocks edge up as consumer confidence falls slightly

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[NEW YORK] Wall Street stocks edged higher Wednesday as US consumer confidence remained elevated in December despite ebbing from the prior month's record.

The Conference Board's closely-watched confidence reading for a key month in retail sales fell to 122.1 from a 17-year high in November.

Even with the retreat, "consumers' expectations remain at historically strong levels," said Lynn Franco, head of indicators at the Conference Board.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.1 per cent to end the low-volume trading session at 24,774.23.

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The broad-based S&P 500 added 0.1 per cent to finish at 2,682.62, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index gained less than 0.1 per cent to 6,939.34.

All three indices were within striking distance of all-time records amid solid US economic data and bullish sentiment in the wake of the massive tax cut supported by President Donald Trump.

But analysts described a sleepy session, as trading volumes are traditionally low in the week in between Christmas and New Year's.

The week usually is associated with the "Santa Claus rally", but analysts have been unsure whether to expect a push higher this week given the strong gains US stocks already have attained this year.

Bigger movers among Dow companies included Nike, which lost 1.1 per cent, McDonald's, which advanced 0.8 per cent, and Visa, which won 0.9 per cent.

Tesla Motors lost 1.8 per cent after a report from KeyBanc predicted the electric carmaker's Model 3 deliveries would disappoint.

Media shares also were generally weak, with Comcast losing 1.0 per cent, Viacom 2.8 per cent and CBS 1.5 per cent.

AFP