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published on December 20, 2019 - 1:25 PM
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(AP) — Major US indexes are closing broadly higher on Wall Street, giving the S&P 500 index its 10th winning week in the last 11. Rising optimism around a “Phase 1” trade deal announced a week ago between the US and China has helped drive stocks higher, and the market is heading into what’s historically been a seasonally good period. The S&P 500 rose 15 points, or 0.5%, to 3,221 Friday. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 77 points, or 0.3%, to 28,454. The Nasdaq rose 37 points, or 0.4%, to 8,924. Bond prices fell. The yield on the 10-year Treasury rose to 1.92%.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. AP’s earlier story follows below.

Stocks notched broad gains on Wall Street Friday, nudging the major indexes toward more record highs and another weekly gain for the S&P 500.

The benchmark index was on track to close out its 10th winning week in the last 11.

Trading could be lumpy Friday, with contracts set to expire for futures and options on indexes and stocks in what’s known as a “quadruple witching day.”

Momentum for stocks has been clearly upward for months, however, and the market is heading into what’s historically been a seasonally good period.

Rising optimism around a “Phase 1” trade deal announced a week ago between the United States and China has helped push stock indexes to records. Fears about a possible recession have also faded since the summer after the Federal Reserve cut interest rates three times, and the central bank appears set to keep them low for a long time.

“It’s just a benign continuation of the year-end rally based on no compelling reasons to scare people into selling,” said Tom Martin, senior portfolio manager with Globalt Investments. “You have not a lot of reasons to sell; maybe a few reasons to buy. So it’s just a very slow, low volume drift upward.”

More encouraging data arrived on Friday showing U.S. households continue to spend amid a healthy job market. That is making up for hesitance by businesses to spend, and it’s helping to keep the economy growing at a moderate pace.

Technology stocks accounted for much of the market’s gains. Intel rose 1.3%.

Health care companies makers of household goods also notched solid gains. Pfizer added 1.3% and Coca-Cola gained 1.4%.

The S&P 500 is on pace for its best week in more than three months. Treasury yields edged higher, while crude oil and gold prices dipped.

KEEPING SCORE: The S&P 500 was up 0.6% as of 3:24 p.m. Eastern time. Roughly two stocks rose for every one that fell on the New York Stock Exchange.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed 122 points, or 0.4%, to 28,499, and the Nasdaq composite added 0.4%.

European stock markets closed broadly higher.

ECONOMIC SIGNS: Spending by U.S. households has been the main pillar for the economy recently, even as CEOs turned cautious amid all the uncertainty created by President Donald Trump’s trade wars. Consumer spending rose 0.4% last month from October, the strongest growth in four months, according to the latest data from the Commerce Department. The increase in spending came as incomes rose 0.5% from a month earlier.

A separate report confirmed the economy grew at a moderate annual rate of 2.1% in the third quarter.

Much of the growth from that July-through-September quarter came from stronger consumer spending.

SANTA CALLING: Stocks have traditionally climbed in the last five days of each calendar year, plus the first two of the new year. It’s happened often enough that traders call it the “Santa rally”, and it’s brought an average gain of 1.3% for the S&P 500 since 1969, according to the Stock Trader’s Almanac.

Over the last 50 years, stocks have climbed in the seven-day stretch roughly three quarters of the time.

YIELDS: The 10-year Treasury yield was little changed at 1.91%. The two-year yield climbed to 1.63% from 1.60%. The 30-year yield held steady at 2.34%.

GOOD VOYAGE: Carnival jumped 8% for the biggest gain in the S&P 500 after it reported stronger earnings for the latest quarter than analysts expected. The cruise ship operator also gave a profit forecast for the upcoming quarter that topped analysts’ forecasts.

CLUNKER: CarMax dropped 5.8% for one of the largest losses in the S&P 500 after it reported weaker earnings for the latest quarter than analysts expected.

COMMODITIES: Benchmark U.S. crude oil fell 74 cents to $60.44 per barrel. Brent crude, the international standard, slid 40 cents to $66.14 per barrel.

Gold dropped $3.50 to $1,480.90 per ounce.


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