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Oct. 1, 2018

Two of the three U.S. stock market benchmarks closed out the month of September slightly higher following the Federal Reserve’s latest policy decision to raise interest rates. The Federal Reserve increased the benchmark interest rate for the third time this year, raising the rate 25 basis points to a range of 2% to 2.25% and signaling it may continue to increase rates through 2019.

On economic news, initial jobless claims for state unemployment benefits rose by 12,000 to a seasonally adjusted level of 214,000 for the week ended Sept. 22, the Labor Department said in a release last Thursday. This exceeded average estimates of 210,000, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Data for the prior week’s claims was upwardly revised to 202,000.

Manufactured durable goods orders for August rose 4.5% to $259.6 billion, according to a release from the Census Bureau. The pace of growth was much stronger than the 2% projected by analysts. New orders increased 0.1 percent excluding transportation.

The advanced goods trade deficit for August fell to a seasonally adjusted rate of $75.8 billion, the Census Bureau said in a statement. This represented an about $5 billion greater deficit than the average analyst expectations of $70.6 billion, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The prior-month data was revised to a deficit of $72 billion.

Gross domestic product grew in the second quarter at an annualized rate of 4.2%, unrevised from the previous quarter and matching average analyst estimates. The results indicate the fastest pace of growth since late 2014. Real gross domestic product increased 2.2% in the first quarter.

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Year to date the Dow, S&P 500 and NASDAQ are all in positive territory at 7.04, 8.99 and 16.59 percent, respectively, while the 10-year Treasury is yielding 3.06 percent.