US stocks open higher; Dow, S&P 500 hit intraday records

On the last trading day of the week, major US equity indices opened with modest gains and touched fresh record high levels during the opening hour of trade.

The market also seemed to be deriving support from today's US CPI and monthly retail sales data, which eased some doubts over sluggish economic outlook, though were slightly below market expectations. 

The headline CPI recorded its largest monthly rise of 0.5% in September, while core CPI (excluding volatile food and energy prices) rose at a much slower rate of 0.1% and offered support to those whole believed that the Fed might be more gradual in raising interest rates. 

Separately, monthly retail sales rebounded sharply and posted a robust growth of 1.6% in September, marking its largest increase since March 2015. 

Investors also watched the latest quarterly results from big banks, hoping for stronger earnings growth that could help justify current stretched valuations. 

At the time of reporting, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up around 30-points and inched closer to 23,000 milestone for the first time ever. Meanwhile, the broader S&P 500 Index added nearly 3-points to 2,554 and tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite Index climbed 14-points to 6,605.

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