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Dow, S&P 500 end at historical highs on faster U.S. economic growth

English.news.cn   2013-12-21 06:11:42            

NEW YORK, Dec. 20 (Xinhua) -- U.S. stocks rallied Friday, propelling the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 to record highs, bolstered by an upward revision of the nation's real gross domestic product (GDP) in the third quarter.

The blue-chip Dow surged 42.06 points, or 0.26 percent, to 16, 221.14. The S&P 500 ticked up 8.71 points, or 0.48 percent, to 1, 818.31. The Nasdaq Composite Index soared 46.61 points, or 1.15 percent, to 4,104.74.

Both the Dow and the S&P 500 notched their all-time closing and intraday highs in the day. The Nasdaq refreshed its highest level in more than 13 years.

For the week, the three indices jumped 3.0 percent, 2.4 percent and 2.6 percent, respectively. Wall Street cheered the Federal Reserve's prudential tapering of its bond purchases this week with fairly positive reaction, as the U.S. central bank reassured investors by pledging to keep the ultra-low interest rates intact in a very long time which would boost the economy.

The U.S. economic growth rate came in well above market consensus, sending a further signal that the world's largest economy is running at a faster pace, which continued to buoy investors' sentiment.

The U.S. real GDP increased at an annual rate of 4.1 percent in the third quarter before the 16-day partial federal government shutdown, up from the previous estimate of 3.6 percent, the Commerce Department reported Friday. In the second quarter, the U. S. economy grew at a 2.5 percent rate.

Meanwhile, the Kansas City Fed's manufacturing activity fell slightly to minus 3 in December from 7 in the preceding month. A reading below zero indicates contraction.

"The drop in regional factory activity appears like it will be temporary, and was at least partly driven by bad weather," said Chad Wilkerson, vice president and economist at the regional Fed bank, in a statement. "Firms remain generally optimistic about the first half of 2014, despite continued uncertainty about fiscal policy and regulations."

In corporate news, Facebook shares edged up 0.13 percent to 55. 12 U.S. dollars as the social media network will join the S&P 500 after the close of trading Friday.

The CBOE Volatility Index, widely considered as a fear gauge of the market, was down 2.54 percent to finish at 13.79.

In other markets, oil prices gained Friday for a third consecutive day on better-than-expected U.S. growth rate in the third quarter. Light, sweet crude for February delivery increased 28 cents to settle at 99.32 dollars a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, while Brent crude for February delivery moved up 1.48 dollars to close at 111.77 dollars a barrel.

Gold futures on the COMEX division of the New York Mercantile Exchange rebounded from the lowest in more than three years Friday, with the most active gold contract for February delivery rising 10. 1 dollars to settle at 1,203.7 dollars per ounce.

The U.S. dollar mildly retreated against most major currencies Friday after rallying for two sessions boosted by the Fed's cautious move to reduce its bond purchases.

In late New York trading, the euro rose to 1.3671 U.S. dollars from 1.3656 dollars in the previous session, and the U.S. dollar bought 104.04 Japanese yen, lower than 104.15 yen of the previous session.

Editor: Mu Xuequan
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