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Dow hits new high...Retail and other industry growth figures due

Wednesday - 4/3/2013, 7:40am  ET

NEW YORK (AP) -- Stocks are again hitting new highs on Wall Street. Fresh evidence of a strengthening economy, with pickup truck sales leading U.S. automakers to their strongest March in years, helped boost the Dow to a new record close. The bluechip index gained 89 points to 14,662. The S&P 500 rose 8 points to 1,570m coming within two points of its all-time high during Tuesday's session. The Nasdaq finished at 3,255, adding nearly 16 points. Futures trading indicates gains this morning.

BANGKOK (AP) -- Japan's benchmark stock index surged today as the country's central bank started its first policy meeting under a new governor committed to aggressive monetary action to end years of economic malaise. International stock markets were mixed, otherwise. Benchmark crude oil slipped back under $97 per barrel. The dollar fell against the euro but rose against the yen.

WASHINGTON (AP) -- It's a light day for economic data. The Institute for Supply Management releases its service sector index for March this morning. The report measures growth in industries such as retail, construction, health care and financial services, which cover 90 percent of the work force. ISM's February gauge showed the fastest growth in a year.

BRUSSELS (AP) -- Inflation across the 17 European Union countries that use the euro fell for the third month running in March to its lowest level in nearly three years. Eurostat, the EU's statistics office, said consumer prices in the eurozone were up 1.7 percent in March from the year before, its lowest rate since August 2010 and down from 1.8 percent in February. Weaker energy price inflation was one of the main reasons behind the fall.

TOKYO (AP) -- Japan's central bank is holding its first policy meeting under a new governor amid expectations of fresh moves to ease monetary policy and spur a recovery in the world's third-largest economy. It is unclear whether the central bank meeting today and tomorrow will yield fresh policy moves or if they might come in a second policy meeting later this month.

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