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US: Stocks open higher after Ukraine peace deal


[NEW YORK] Wall Street stocks opened higher on Thursday as hopes about a ceasefire agreement for Ukraine offset disappointing US retail sales and unemployment data.

Five minutes into trade, the Dow Jones Industrial Average stood at 17,895.02, up 32.88 points.

The broad-based S&P 500 gained 8.86 to 2,077.39, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index rose 30.07 to 4,831.26.

Kiev and pro-Russian rebels agreed to a peace roadmap early Thursday after marathon negotiations in Minsk involving the leaders of France, Germany, Russia and Ukraine.

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But German Chancellor Angela Merkel and others said much work remains ahead to ensure the deal is successful.

US retail sales fell for a second straight month in January, this time by 0.8 percent, in part due to lower receipts from gasoline sales as prices continued to fall.

The Labor Department reported that new claims for US unemployment insurance jumped last week to back above the 300,000 line.