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US stocks higher at the open ahead of Fed interest rate decision

As was indicated by futures trading, US shares went higher at the open....

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Twitter shares fell on disappointing numbers...

As was indicated by futures trading, US shares went higher at the open as there were more earnings to pour over and ahead of the eagerly awaited Fed interest rate decision.

That said, almost nobody expects a rate rise to be announced.

Few expect it to happen at the December meeting either, as global growth concerns abound, not least about China, and amid disappointing economic data in the US yesterday and recently in Europe.

As Alastair McCaig at IG Index pointed out earlier: "Fed chair Janet Yellen may well wish to increase rates prior to year’s end but the most recent US data has made a move look much less likely.

"With only the statement and no press conference tonight this decision could be ‘much ado about nothing’."

In early deals, the benchmark Dow Jones added 101 points to 17,683, the Nasdaq added 29 to 5,059 and the S&P 500 gained almost 13 to stand at 2,078.

Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) was in focus as ever as the tech titan reported record results and shares added 2.37% to US$117.27 as the iPhones seller Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) cheered the market with record profits swollen by strong demand in China.

Apple’s full-year net income of US$53bn was not only the biggest annual profit number in the company’s history; it was the biggest profit declared by any company, topping Exxon Mobil’s US$45.2bn in 2008.

Since falling into line with the rest of the smartphone market and introducing models with a bigger screen, the company’s iPhone sales have gone through the roof in China, where a larger screen is considered essential...

Walgreens Boots Alliance (NASDAQ:WBA) agreed to acquire Rite Aid (NYSE:RAD)  in a $17.2 billion deal and reported profit that topped analysts’ estimates in its fourth quarter. But shares eased around 7% in Walgreens to US$88.7, while Rite Aid shares also eased by about the same percentage.

Northrop Grumman (NYSE:NOC) touched a fresh record high after the maker of the stealth B-2 bomber won a $21.4bn contract from the Pentagon to develop and build a next-generation long-range strike bomber.

Shares in the Virginia-based company rose 6.2% to $191.82.

On the flipside, social media giant Twitter (NYSE:TWTR) tumbled 7.1% after the company issued downbeat revenue guidance and reported slower user growth than anticipated.

Hershey (NYSE:HSY) sank 4.58% as the chocolate maker cut its full-year profit forecast, hurt by weak demand in North America and higher marketing costs ahead of the holiday season.

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