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Stock Market Today: Dow ends higher as Target rally pushes retailers higher -- The Dow closed higher Wednesda after data showed inflation continues to ease and a rally in Target pushed retailers higher following better-than-expected third-quarter results.

At 16:00 ET (21:00 GMT), the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 163 points or 0.5%, while the S&P 500 was up 0.2% and the NASDAQ Composite was up 0.1%.

Inflation shows further signs of cooling, retail sales slows as consumer rein in spending

Producer prices slowed to a pace of 1.3% in the 12 months through October from a 2.2% increase in September, missing expectations for a rise of 1.9%, adding further optimism that the deflation trend is set to continue just a day after a consumer inflation for October also showed a deeper than expected slowdown.

Optimism over an ongoing slowdown in inflation continued to support bets that Fed's rate hiking cycle is over, potentially paving the way for rate cuts as soon as the first half of next year.

Also adding to bets on sooner rather later Fed cuts, October retail sales fell 0.1%, missing expectations for a 0.3% drop, though economists pointed to the marked decline from strong retail sales print in Q3.

"The consumer spent money like there was no tomorrow in Q3, and the retail sales data for October suggest that they broadly paused at the outset of Q4,"Jefferies said in a note.

Target rally on Q3 beat sparks jump in retailers

Retailing giant Target (NYSE:TGT) beat profit expectations, as same store sales fell 4.9%. Its guidance for the fourth quarter was in line with expectations. Its shares closed nearly 18%.

Retailers rose more than 2%, though discount retailer TJX Companies Inc (NYSE:TJX), down 3%, bucked the trend higher despite reporting Q3 results that beat on both the top and bottom lines, with same store sales rising 6%.

Beyond earnings-related moves, retailers were also supported by a more than 3% rise in VF Corporation (NYSE:VFC) after JPMorgan upgraded its rating on the apparel company to neutral from underweight, citing an improved risk to reward.

Tech stocks take breather following recent melt-up

Tech stocks took a breather following a rally a day earlier amid weakness in Meta Platforms Inc (NASDAQ:META), though Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) ended flat despite launching its own chip, Maia 100, for AI that is expected to compete with Nvidia as demand for hardware to power artificial intelligence gathers pace.

NVIDIA Corporation (NASDAQ:NVDA), which closed a record high a day earlier, fell 2% to snap its 10-day winning streak.

Oil slips ahead of EIA inventories

Energy stocks were dragged lower by falling oil prices following weekly U.S. crude inventory showing a much higher than expected increase in U.S. crude stockpiles.

Halliburton Company (NYSE:HAL), Diamondback Energy Inc (NASDAQ:FANG), Schlumberger NV (NYSE:SLB) were among the biggest delincers in the energy sector.

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