U.S. stocks extended a post-election rally on Thursday, finishing higher after Federal Reserve Chairwoman hinted at a December interest-rate hike, and a batch of sanguine economic data painted an encouraging picture of the U.S. economy. The S&P 500 added 10.19 points, or 0.5%, to 2,187.13, with financial stocks seeing the largest gains. The Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed 35.68 points, or 0.2%, to 18,903.82, but lagged other benchmarks due to a sharp drop in Wal-Mart Stores Inc. [s:WMT]. Meanwhile, Home Depot Inc. and Microsoft Corp. were the two biggest gainers on the blue-chip index. The Nasdaq Composite Index climbed 39.39 points, or 0.7%, to 5,333.97. Both the Dow and the S&P 500 snapped multisession winning streaks on Wednesday after a post-election rally propelled the blue-chip gauge to four consecutive record closes.
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