Stocks end week of milestones at new highs; Dow tops 28,000 for first time ever
Wall Street closed out the week with more milestones Friday as the Dow Jones Industrial Average crossed 28,000 for the first time and the S&P 500 and Nasdaq hit record highs.
Health care and technology stocks powered most of the broad rally, which helped drive the S&P 500 to its sixth straight weekly gain. The Dow extended its streak of weekly gains to four.
Investors have been encouraged by surprisingly good corporate earnings, three interest rate cuts by the Federal Reserve and data showing the economy is still growing solidly. Hopes that the U.S. and China can make progress in their latest push for a trade deal have also helped keep investors in a buying mood.
“Over the past week the market absorbed a number of challenging trade headlines, and it didn’t go down,” said Willie Delwiche, investment strategist at Baird. “It might just be the case that with positive momentum, after not having had a chance to pull the market down, the bulls stepped in again and said: ‘Let’s keep this thing going.’”
The S&P 500 index rose 23.83 points, or 0.8%, to 3,120.46.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 222.93 points, or 0.8%, to 28,004.89. The Nasdaq composite climbed 61.81, or 0.7%, to 8,540.83. The Russell 2000 index of smaller companies picked up 7.66 points, or 0.5%, to 1,596.45.
The S&P, Dow and Nasdaq are now all up by more than 20% for the year.
Bond prices fell Friday, pushing yields higher, a signal that investors were shifting away from safe-play holdings. The yield on the 10-year Treasury rose to 1.84% from 1.81% late Thursday.
Traders hope the world’s two biggest economies can make a deal before new and more damaging tariffs take effect next month. Beijing is pressing Washington to roll back tariffs as part of a potential deal that the nations are trying to hammer out.
Investors mostly shrugged off published reports this week suggesting that trade talks have hit a snag. On Friday, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross told Fox Business that it is likely a trade deal will get done, though he noted that it’s still possible a pact could unravel at the last minute as it did in when both sides got close to a deal in May.
A report showing U.S. retail sales rebounded a modest 0.3% in October after falling the previous month also encouraged traders. J.C. Penney surged after it raised its profit forecast.
Health care stocks led the way higher Friday, with insurers getting a boost after the Trump administration officially announced a rule that would require hospitals and other providers to make public the rates for drugs, doctor visits and other services. Humana climbed 5.5%, UnitedHealth Group rose 5.3% and Anthem gained 5.6%.
Technology stocks also notched solid gains. Solid quarterly earnings drove Applied Materials 9% higher, making it the biggest gainer in the S&P 500.
Communication services companies also helped lift the market. Google parent Alphabet rose 1.9%, hitting an all-time high.
The materials sector ended lower, the only one to finish with a tiny loss. Utilities and makers of household goods posted the smallest gains as investors turned away from less risky, defensive stocks.
Traders bid up shares in several big retailers. J.C. Penney climbed 6.4% after the struggling department store chain reported a smaller quarterly loss and raised its annual profit forecast. Under Armour rose 3.9% and Macy’s gained 3.4%.
RH climbed 7.6% and energy company Occidental Petroleum gained 2.9% after Warren Buffett’s company disclosed that it had picked up shares of both companies.
Amarin vaulted 11.8% after a government advisory panel recommended broader use of its fish oil-based heart disease drug Vascepa.
Benchmark crude oil rose 95 cents to settle at $57.72 a barrel. Brent crude, the international standard, gained $1.02 to close at $63.30 a barrel. Wholesale gasoline rose 2 cents to $1.64 per gallon. Heating oil climbed 3 cents to $1.95 per gallon. Natural gas rose 4 cents to $2.69 per 1,000 cubic feet.
Gold fell $4.50 to $1,467.30 per ounce, silver fell 8 cents to $16.93 per ounce and copper rose 2 cents to $2.64 per pound.
The dollar rose to 108.84 Japanese yen from 108.37 yen on Thursday. The euro strengthened to $1.1053 from $1.1022.
Asian and European markets finished higher.
AP Business Writer Damian J. Troise contributed.