* Investors parse Fed speeches for taper-timing clues
* Slower China inflation eases worries of tighter policy
* McDonald's November sales miss estimates on U.S. weakness
* Indexes up: Dow 0.19 pct; S&P 500 0.31 pct; Nasdaq 0.19
By Chuck Mikolajczak
NEW YORK, Dec 9 U.S. stocks advanced modestly on
Monday after positive Chinese trade and inflation data, while
remarks by top Federal Reserve officials about the outlook for
slowing the Fed's stimulus had little impact on the market.
After the strong November jobs report last week, speculation
grew the central bank might slow its $85 billion a month in bond
buying to stimulate the economy sooner than expected. The two
speakers did little to lift the uncertainty around when the U.S.
central bank would act.
Richmond Fed President Jeffrey Lacker, an outspoken critic
of the Fed's monetary easing, said further monetary stimulus is
unlikely to have a lasting effect on the economy and would make
it harder to eventually wind it down.
St. Louis Fed Bank President James Bullard said
"improvements in the U.S. job market make reductions to the
Federal Reserve's massive bond-buying program more likely." The
labor market's gains suggest the U.S. central bank could start
small tapering and reassess in the first half of 2014.
Dallas Fed Bank President Richard Fisher is due to speak
twice today in Chicago.
"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," said Tim
Ghriskey, chief investment officer of Solaris Group in Bedford
Hills, New York.
"It certainly is not going to be a surprise to anybody when
it does occur."
The policy-setting Federal Open Market Committee will hold
its final meeting of 2013 on Dec. 17-18.
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 27
percent for the year and is on track for its biggest annual gain
The Dow Jones industrial average rose 30.22 points or
0.19 percent, to 16,050.42, the S&P 500 gained 5.6 points
or 0.31 percent, to 1,810.69 and the Nasdaq Composite
added 7.746 points or 0.19 percent, to 4,070.267.
Sysco Corp jumped 11.6 percent to $38.30 and ranked
as the S&P 500's biggest percentage gainer. 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 $95.81 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.