Stocks end mostly higher ahead of Thanksgiving

Wall Street action was muted Wednesday - ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday and a shortened-session when investors return on Friday.

The Dow slipped 9 points. The S&P 500 rose 10. The Nasdaq rallied 70.

Economic data gave investors much to think about over the holidays. Consumer spending rose more than expected in October and inflation remained on an upswing. The so-called core PCE, a measure of inflation favored by the Federal Reserve, showed a 12-month surge through October of 4.1 percent. In separate data, the number of Americans who filed for new jobless assistance plunged to lows not seen since 1969.

Investors also received some insight into Fed thinking Minutes from the November meeting showed some policymakers may be open to accelerating the Fed's plan to stop buying bonds to support the economy.

Ed Cofrancesco, CEO of International Assets Advisory, thinks investors should tweak their portfolios with a less-accommodative, or "hawkish," Fed in mind.

"We think we're going to have inflation through twenty three. So while we still think that equity markets will remain at or near all time highs for the next few months at some point as the Fed takes a more hawkish approach. And clearly that's what they're indicating to these minutes that the jet fuel is going to be taken out. This rocket is going to be taken away from the market so that retail investors need to start exercising defensive strategies."

John Deere was a stand-out on the corporate front. The world's largest farm equipment maker hardly missed a beat during a more than month long strike. The company posted its highest-ever profit and guided full-year estimates higher. The stock touched its highest price in at least nine months.

It was a much different story for Gap Inc. The apparel retailer lowered its full-year forecast as it gets whacked by supply shortages. Shares of the Gap lost nearly one-quarter of their value.

Nordstrom was another big loser. The high-end department store chain warned that supply shortages and staffing problems will weigh on business during the crucial holiday shopping season. That stock crumbled 29 percent.

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