Wall Street remains high despite weaker-than-expected data

<p>US stocks remained flat at record high level today.</p>

US stocks remained flat this morning (November 26th) ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday, despite the release of weaker-than-expected economic data from the US government.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.1 per cent, to 17806 at 10:37 ET, while the S&P 500 index added one point to 2068 and the Nasdaq Composite Index gained 0.2 per cent to 4770.

Jobless claims unexpectedly rose by 21,000 in the latest week, reaching 312,000 for the first time since early September. Consumer spending in the world's largest economy rose 0.2 per cent in October from the prior month, while personal income rose 0.2 per cent.

And while consumer sentiment rose to its highest level in more than seven years, it was down slightly from a preliminary reading. However, new-home sales rose slightly in October after sharp downward revisions to prior months levels.

"This isn't enough to derail the rally we've been on, because while markets are fairly valued, when you consider the alternatives equities are still the best asset," Matthew Keator, partner in wealth management firm the Keator Group, told Reuters.

Wall Street shares have rallied in recent weeks on a string of improving economic data in the US. It emerged this week that the country's economy grew at a pace of 3.9 per cent in the third quarter, higher than the initial estimate of 3.5 per cent.

The Conference Board Leading Economic Index (LEI), an index of US leading indicators, increased by 0.9 per cent in October, following a 0.7 per cent increase in September - beating forecasts.

It was also revealed that US inflation was stable, with consumer prices unchanged in October, as low gasoline costs continued to keep inflation at bay. "The U.S. is certainly the star of the recovery," Chris Gaffney, senior market strategist at EverBank Wealth Management, told the Wall Street Journal. "Right now the U.S. consumer is the driver of the global economy."

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