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US stocks rise to fresh records in shortened session

Associated Press Associated Press 25/11/2016 By BERNARD CONDON, AP Business Writer
FILE - This Tuesday, Oct. 25, 2016, file photo shows the New York Stock Exchange at sunset, in lower Manhattan. Stocks are rising in early trading Friday, Nov. 25, 2016, as the market continues a record-setting run. Trading was relatively quiet as traders returned from the Thanksgiving holiday in the U.S. Safe-play stocks like utilities and phone companies were among the biggest winners in early trading. Banks fell. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer, File) © The Associated Press FILE - This Tuesday, Oct. 25, 2016, file photo shows the New York Stock Exchange at sunset, in lower Manhattan. Stocks are rising in early trading Friday, Nov. 25, 2016, as the market continues a record-setting run. Trading was relatively quiet as traders returned from the Thanksgiving holiday in the U.S. Safe-play stocks like utilities and phone companies were among the biggest winners in early trading. Banks fell. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer, File)

NEW YORK — Stocks hit fresh records in a shortened trading session Friday as investors continued to bet on a pickup in economic growth and rising corporate profits.

The gains were modest but broad, with nearly every sector in the Standard and Poor's 500 index rising. Utilities rose the most, up 1.4 percent.

Indexes have been rising since the presidential election, and the close on Friday capped a third week in a row of S&P 500 gains. The index is up 4 percent so far this month.

Small-company stocks continued to outpace the market. The Russell 2000 index, which has surged 16 percent since Nov. 3, increased for the 15th day in a row, its longest winning streak since early 1996.

Investors anticipate that plans by President-elect Donald Trump to cut taxes, reduce regulations and spend on infrastructure will speed economic growth. Investors are also reacting to recent signs of a pickup in growth in several other major economies around the world, said Jim Paulsen, chief investment strategist for Wells Capital Management.

"We haven't had a synchronized bounce in growth across the globe ever in this recovery" Paulsen said. "This is the first time you're getting all the economic boats going north at the same time, and I think stock markets are reflecting that."

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 68.96 points, or 0.4 percent, to 19,152.14. The S&P 500 climbed 8.63 points, or 0.4 percent, to 2,213.35. The Nasdaq composite added 18.24 points, or 0.3 percent, to 5,398.92.

Stock trading closed at 1:00 p.m. Eastern time. Trading was relatively quiet as investors returned from the Thanksgiving holiday.

Investors sold bonds again on fear that inflation in the future could eat into their fixed payments. Yields, which move opposite prices, fell. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note rose to 2.36 percent.

Ten of 11 sectors of the S&P 500 rose. Energy companies fell with the price of oil. ConocoPhillips lost 55 cents, or 1.2 percent, to $45.75.

Electricity supplier Entergy Energy rose $1.41, or 2.1 percent, to $69.53. The climb in utilities on Friday reflects investor desire for steady dividends. Telephone companies, which are also big dividend payers, rose, too. AT&T climbed 48 cents, or 1.2 percent, to $39.21.

Among others stocks making moves Friday, Johnson & Johnson rose $1.06 cents, or 0.9 percent, to $114.13 after the health care company said it is in early talks to buy Swiss drugmaker Actelion.

Deere & Co. rose 1.7 percent, after rocketing 11 percent on Wednesday. The maker of agricultural and construction equipment reported a quarterly loss on Wednesday, but it was much less than expected. It closed Friday at $103.92, up $1.75.

Stocks closed higher overseas, too.

Britain's FTSE 100 and France's CAC 40 each rose 0.2 percent. Germany's DAX climbed 0.1 percent.

In Asia, Japan's Nikkei 225 finished 0.3 percent higher and South Korea's Kospi edged up 0.2 percent. Stocks in Hong Kong, Australia, Taiwan, Singapore and other Southeast Asian markets also advanced.

Oil prices fell sharply. Benchmark U.S. crude fell $1.90, or 4 percent, to $46.06 per barrel in New York. Brent crude, used to price international oils, lost $1.90, or 3.9 percent, to $47.10 in London.

Investors pushed prices up earlier in the week, but are on edge in anticipation of a meeting of OPEC nations next week. They are meeting to possibly hammer out an agreement on meaningful output cuts.

In other energy trading, wholesale gasoline fell 5 cents to $1.37 a gallon, heating oil lost 5 cents to $1.47 a gallon and natural gas rose 6 cents to $3.09 per 1,000 cubic feet.

The dollar remained at a more than eight-year high against the Chinese yuan, which was trading at 6.92 yuan per dollar. The dollar fell against the Japanese yen, to 113.09 yen from 113.69 yen, while the euro strengthened to $1.0600 from $1.0547.

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