Wall Street at record highs as year-end rally continues

(Reuters) – U.S. stock indexes rose slightly on Friday, continuing a year-end record rally that has been fueled by optimism over a U.S.-China trade truce and an improving global economy.

FILE PHOTO: Traders work on the floor at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., December 17, 2019. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

The benchmark S&P 500 index .SPX is about half a percentage point shy of logging its best year since 1997. The Nasdaq .IXIC crossed the 9,000 point mark for the first time on Thursday.

While Wall Street’s main indexes pulled back briefly from their record opening levels, they were back at all-time highs.

“We’ve had such a long run so far that it now feels a bit overstretched,” said Katrina Lamb, head of investment strategy and research at MV Financial, in Bethesda, Maryland.

“These moves are expected in the absence of anything earth-shaking happening.”

Robust U.S. economic data, relatively loose monetary policy and hopes of an imminent trade truce between Beijing and Washington have sent U.S. stock indexes to multiple record highs this month.

The world’s top two economies announced their Phase 1 deal earlier this month, but have since disclosed few concrete details. Beijing said this week it was in close contact with Washington on the pact.

Signaling a resilience in the global economy, data on Friday showed profits at China’s industrial firms grew at the fastest pace in eight months in November, but broad weakness in domestic demand remains a risk for company earnings next year.

At 11:25 a.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average .DJI was up 68.95 points, or 0.24%, at 28,690.34, the S&P 500 was up 4.63 points, or 0.14%, at 3,244.54. The Nasdaq Composite was up 5.44 points, or 0.06%, at 9,027.83.

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Shares of Amazon Inc (AMZN.O) rose 1.4%, after having risen about 4% on Thursday after a report showed U.S. shoppers spent more online during the holiday shopping season than in 2018.

Netflix Inc NLFX.O and Alphabet Inc (GOOG.O) were among the biggest drags on the S&P 500 and Nasdaq. The so-called FAANG group of stocks have logged a good run over the past decade, with shares of Netflix up 4,100% in the same period.

Advancing issues outnumbered decliners for a 1.33-to-1 ratio on the NYSE and a 1.31-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.

The S&P index recorded 53 new 52-week highs and no new low, while the Nasdaq recorded 69 new highs and 17 new lows.

Reporting by Manas Mishra and Shreyashi Sanyal in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D’Silva, Arun Koyyur and Shounak Dasgupta


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