Stocks close higher for third-straight session on upbeat earnings, economic data

U.S. stocks closed higher Wednesday, marking the third-straight session of gains as investors shook off concerns over U.S.-China trade relations to focus on positive earnings from blue-chip firms Walmart Inc. WMT, +1.43% and Cisco Systems Inc. CSCO, +6.66% as well as surprisingly strong data on the labor and housing markets. The Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA, +0.84% rose 214 points or about 0.8%, while the S&P 500 SPX, +0.89% added roughly 25 points, or 0.9%. The Nasdaq Composite index COMP, +0.97% climbed approximately 76 points, or 1%. Walmart shares rose 1.4% after the retailer reported upbeat earnings Thursday morning, while Cisco stock climbed more than 6.6% on a positive Wednesday-evening release. New claims for unemployment benefits, meanwhile, came in below consensus expectations, while home builders broke ground on new homes in April at a rate 6% higher than in March.

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