Stocks End the Week on a Positive Note

By Noel Randewich Markets Reuters

(AP)

Wall Street ended the week on a positive note on Friday as investors doubled down on a rally fueled by optimism that President-elect Donald Trump's policies will boost economic growth.

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The Dow Jones Industrial Average, which briefly came within striking distance of the historic 20,000 level earlier this week, recorded its seventh straight weekly gain.

Following a rally since the Nov. 8 U.S. election, the Dow is up about 14 percent for the year and the S&P 500 is 11 percent higher on bets that the economy will benefit from Trump's plans for deregulation and infrastructure spending.

Additional gains will depend on how quickly and successfully Trump can deliver on his promises and whether he meets resistance from a U.S. Congress reluctant to widen the budget deficit, many investors believe.

"It's going to get tough to get over that 20,000 mark. We can do it, but it's going to take a catalyst to move investors," said Jeff Kravetz, a Phoenix-based regional investment director of the Private Client Reserve at U.S. Bank.

U.S. markets are shut for the Christmas holiday on Monday.

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After spending much of the day with a marginal loss, the Dow ended Friday 0.07 percent higher on the day, at 19,933.81 points. The S&P 500 gained 0.13 percent to 2,263.79. The Nasdaq Composite added 0.28 percent to 5,462.69.

For the week, the Dow rose 0.5 percent, the S&P 500 added 0.2 percent, and the Nasdaq climbed 0.5 percent.

The health index rose 0.78 percent on Friday, boosted by a 2.6 percent gain in Allergan.

The S&P 500 consumer discretionary index slipped 0.24 percent, weighed by a 0.75 percent dip in Amazon.com .

Economic data showed new single-family home sales rose to their highest level in four months in November, increasing 5.2 percent to 592,000 last month.

Fred's rose 4.2 percent after Alden Global Capital reported a stake of 24.8 percent in the discount store operator.

Weight Watchers International jumped 8.75 percent, surging for a second day after television celebrity and major shareholder Oprah Winfrey said in a new ad for the company that she lost 40 pounds.

Cintas fell 3.1 percent after the uniforms supplier cut the lower end of its revenue forecast.

Synergy Pharmaceuticals jumped 21.7 percent after the drug developer said data showed its experimental treatment for irritable bowel syndrome treatment met the main goal of a late-stage clinical trial.

Advancing issues outnumbered declining ones on the NYSE by a 1.48-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 2.20-to-1 ratio favored advancers.

The S&P 500 posted nine new 52-week highs and one new low; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 83 new highs and 34 new lows.

With many investors away for the end-of-year holidays, volume was extremely low. About 4.0 billion shares changed hands in U.S. exchanges, compared with 7.4 billion daily average over the last 20 sessions.

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