U.S. equities post solid weekly gains ahead of New Year

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NEW YORK, Dec. 28 (Xinhua) — U.S. stocks advanced in the holiday-shortened week as year-end momentum continued to fuel the market.

For the week, the Dow increased 0.67 percent, the S&P 500 added 0.58 percent, and the Nasdaq climbed 0.91 percent.

Equities opened the week on an upbeat note, boosted by rising Boeing shares. Boeing soared on Monday after the company said its CEO Dennis Muilenburg had stepped down amid 737 Max crisis. The stock gained 0.65 percent for the week.

The market was closed on Wednesday in honor of Christmas after a shortened Christmas Eve session.

Thursday was a highlight for U.S. stocks, with the three major indexes all hitting record highs. The Nasdaq, in particular, jumped 69.51 points, or 0.78 percent, to 9,022.39, topping the 9,000-point mark for the first time ever.

The tech-heavy index had produced 11 straight gains and 10 consecutive record finishes as of Thursday’s close.

“Market momentum remains to the upside as the Santa Claus Rally continues,” Mark Otto, a New York Stock Exchange Designated Market Maker and Global Market Commentator at GTS, told Xinhua on Thursday.

Santa Claus Rally is a calendar effect that involves a rise in stock prices during the last five trading days in December and the first two trading days in the following January. This year’s period began Tuesday.

“It’s a lack of negative news keeping the market higher,” Peter Tuchman, an experienced trader on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, told Xinhua.

Low interest rates, sound consumers condition and the holiday season were the three contributing factors to the market right now, the seasoned trader noted.

Strong holiday sales lifted investor sentiment. The U.S. e-commerce giant said Thursday that the holiday shopping season has broken all records, sending the stock up more than 4 percent.

Low unemployment and trade optimism also lent support to the market rally, according to experts.

“Weekly jobless claims decreased, adding fuel to the market rally which ended at session highs,” said Otto, adding “Optimism regarding U.S.-China trade negotiations has been a market catalyst since before the beginning of the fourth quarter.”

In the week ending Dec. 21, U.S. initial jobless claims, a rough way to measure layoffs, came in at 222,000, a decrease of 13,000 from the previous week’s revised level, the Department of Labor said Thursday.

On other economic data, new orders for U.S. manufactured durable goods dipped 2 percent in November, the Department of Commerce reported on Monday. Economists had expected a 1 percent increase in U.S. durable-goods orders for November.

Trading volumes were thin in the holiday-abbreviated week.

At Friday’s close, the Dow was up 22.8 percent year-to-date, while the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq rose 29.25 percent and 35.74 percent, respectively, in terms of year-to-date.

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