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U.S. equities finished higher, adding to a rally that helped the major indices post strong weekly advances. The moves came on the heels of more upbeat earnings and economic data that appeared to ease concerns about a sharp slowdown in growth amid an elevated inflationary environment. Q3 earnings season began on a high note, courtesy of heavyweights in the Financials sector, with Dow member Goldman Sachs joining some of its peers by easily topping expectations as investment banking and trading revenues led the way. In other earnings news, J.B. Hunt Transport Services also posted stronger-than-expected results. On the economic front, September retail sales activity came in stronger than expected, import prices were cooler than estimated, and business inventories continued to rise, apparently helping to overshadow an unexpected decline in a preliminary read on October consumer sentiment. Treasuries came under pressure to lift yields, and the U.S. dollar was little changed in choppy trading, while gold tumbled and crude oil prices tacked onto a recent run. Overseas, Europe finished higher, adding to yesterday's broad-based advance, while markets in Asia also closed out the week with gains.
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