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U.S. stocks up on income data, GM news

Written by: Staff

NEW YORK, March 1 (Reuters) U.S. stocks rose on Wednesday as investors viewed consumer income and spending data as giving the Federal Reserve reason to end its interest-rate increases sooner than previously expected.

General Motors Corp.'s shares also lent support to the market after Chief Executive Rick Wagoner told reporters at the Geneva car show that the company aims to stop losing money in Europe this year.

GM stock rose nearly 1 percent to .52 on the New York Stock Exchange.

Auto sales data are due later on Wednesday, while government data on U.S. oil inventories are expected at 10:30 a.m. (1530 GMT) ''Looks like the stock market has gotten off on positive footing after yesterday's broad-based decline. We're seeing gains in eight of 10 S&P sectors,'' said Michael Sheldon, chief market strategist at New York brokerage Spencer Clarke.

''The data that came out so far was pretty much in line with expectations. Looking ahead, investors will be keeping an eye on auto sales.'' The Dow Jones industrial average was up 33.54 points, or 0.31 percent, at 11,026.95. The Standard&Poor's 500 Index was up 3.91 points, or 0.31 percent, at 1,284.57. The Nasdaq Composite Index was up 9.91 points, or 0.43 percent, at 2,291.30.

U.S. consumer spending outpaced income growth and left Americans with a -0.7 percent savings rate in January. It was the third straight month consumers dipped into savings to finance their spending.

The Commerce Department said personal income rose 0.7 percent in January, above economists forecast. Personal spending shot up 0.9 percent, just below analyst expectations. The core personal consumption expenditures index, an inflation measure, rose 0.2 percent, matching forecasts.

''The first quarter is off to a very strong start. This will dominate some of the disappointing numbers we got earlier this week, at least in terms of forecasting GDP,'' Cary Leahey, senior managing director at Decision Economics, said. ''On the inflation front, the Fed got a little more breathing room.'' Shares of Google Inc. rose 0.8 percent to 5.33 on Nasdaq after the Web search company late Tuesday said it sees plenty of room to improve on how it makes money selling advertising alongside its popular Internet search results.

The company was clarifying statements by its chief financial officer earlier Tuesday which sent Google shares tumbling as much as 13 percent.

In earnings news, teen clothing retailer American Eagle Outfitters Inc. posted higher net profit and gave an earnings outlook that was higher than analysts' forecasts.

Shares of American Eagle were up 6.4 percent to .04 on the Nasdaq.


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