* Investors to parse Fed speeches for taper-timing clues
* Slower China inflation eases worries of tighter policy
* McDonald's Nov. sales miss estimates on U.S. weakness
* Dow up 0.1 pct; S&P 500 0.2 pct; Nasdaq up 0.1 pct
By Chuck Mikolajczak
NEW YORK, Dec 9 U.S. stocks rose modestly on
Monday after positive Chinese trade and inflation data, but
investor enthusiasm was tempered before speeches on the economy
by top Federal Reserve officials.
In the wake of the unexpectedly strong November jobs report,
investors will monitor central bankers' comments for clues on
when the Fed may begin to slow its stimulus. The policy-setting
Federal Open Market Committee will hold its final meeting of
2013 on Dec. 17-18.
Jeffrey Lacker, the president of the Federal Reserve Bank of
Richmond, will speak at an economic outlook conference in
Charlotte, North Carolina, at 12:30 p.m. (1730 GMT).
St. Louis Fed Bank President James Bullard will also speak
on the economy in St. Louis in the afternoon, and Dallas Fed
Bank President Richard Fisher will speak in Chicago in the
"A lot of Fed-speak today, and likely they are going to
throw some cold water on all of this and talk about tapering,
getting the market prepared for that inevitability," said Tim
Ghriskey, chief investment officer of Solaris Group in Bedford
Hills, New York.
"There is no question - at some point, there is tapering.
Whether that is December or March or June, it's coming. All the
Fed-speak helps the market get prepared for that."
Equities received support from data that showed China's
exports beat forecasts, pointing to stabilization of the world's
second-largest economy, while annual consumer inflation
unexpectedly slowed in November and served to ease market fears
of any imminent policy tightening.
The S&P 500 scored its best day in nearly a month on Friday
following a robust jobs report that gave traders confidence the
economic recovery was gaining strength. The S&P 500 is up nearly
27 percent for the year and is on track for its biggest annual
gain since 1998.
The Dow Jones industrial average rose 11.53 points or
0.07 percent, to 16,031.73. The S&P 500 gained 3.73
points or 0.21 percent, to 1,808.82. The Nasdaq Composite
added 4.58 points or 0.11 percent, to 4,067.05.
Sysco Corp jumped 12.5 percent to $38.60 and ranked
as the S&P 500's best performer. The stock rallied after the
food distributor said it would buy rival US Foods for about $3.5
billion and assume about $4.7 billion in debt to create a
company with about $65 billion in annual revenue.
But McDonald's Corp curbed the Dow's gain as it fell
1 percent to $95.79 after the fast-food restaurant chain
reported weaker-than-expected global sales at established
restaurants for November, hurt by a sharp drop in
comparable-store sales in the United States.
Abercrombie & Fitch lost 3 percent to $33.84 after
the struggling teen apparel retailer said it will extend Chief
Executive Mike Jeffries' contract by at least a year after it
expires in February, days after a shareholder urged the company
to replace him.