Wall Street notches record highs as year-end rally continues

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NEW YORK

U.S. stocks have gained with the three major indexes all hitting record highs, adding to the year-end rally.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 105.94 points, or 0.37 percent, to close at 28,621.39. The 30-stock index has posted a year-to-date rise of 22.69 percent.

The S&P 500 advanced 16.53 points, or 0.51 percent, to 3,239.91 for a year-to-date return of 29.24 percent.

The Nasdaq Composite Index jumped 69.51 points, or 0.78 percent, to 9,022.39, topping the 9,000 mark for the first time ever. The tech-heavy index has risen 35.98 percent year-to-date.

“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.

The S&P 500 set another record high as the consumer discretionary, communication services and tech stocks outperformed all other sectors, he added.

Ten of the 11 primary S&P 500 sectors ended higher Thursday, with consumer discretionary up 1.43 percent, outpacing the rest. Communication services finished 0.81 percent higher, and technology gained 0.74 percent, also among the best-performing groups.

“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.

U.S. e-commerce giant Amazon said on Thursday that the holiday shopping season broke all records, sending the stock up 4.45 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.

China and the United States have agreed on the text of a phase-one economic and trade agreement based on the principle of equality and mutual respect, and reached consensus that the U.S. side will fulfill its commitments to phase out its additional tariffs on Chinese products, according to a statement by the Chinese side earlier this month.

The two sides have agreed to complete their necessary procedures including legal review, translation and proofreading as soon as possible, and discuss the detailed arrangements for the official signing of the agreement.

The market typically takes on the so-called Santa Claus Rally, which 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.

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