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NEW YORK: Positive results from retailers boosted US stocks, which opened higher on Friday after two negative sessions.

Investors were downbeat this week after a series of US Federal Reserve officials all repeated the message that more interest rate hikes are needed to tame high inflation, even if the pace of the moves could slow.

The comments have again fueled fears of a coming recession in the world’s largest economy.

Boston Fed Bank President Susan Collins echoed that message in a speech Friday though she stressed that “the intent is not a significant downturn.”

Sentiment also was dimmed by less-than-rosy quarterly earnings reports from Target and others, but was helped by some good news in the sector from retailers like Gap and Foot Locker.

About 30 minutes into the trading session, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 0.3 percent at 33,641.15.

The broad-based S&P 500 and the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index were each up 0.4 percent at 3,963.29 and 11,176.09, respectively.

The “good news/better-than-feared news has mitigated some of the weakness seen earlier this week following Target’s (TGT) disappointment,” said Briefing.com analyst Patrick J O’Hare.

“It is looking like a pretty good open, then, for stocks, but what will matter more is how they look when the market closes.”

Gap gained 7.8 percent and Foot Locker jumped 12.6 percent.

Meanwhile, ecommerce giant Amazon was trading flat after the company announced it will lay off workers – with reports of about 10,000 job cuts planned.

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