Wall Street quietly breaks more records

Despite low trading volumes, major indexes broke records for a second straight weekly advance as all sectors posted gains.

Richard Drew/AP/File
The facade of the New York Stock Exchange is seen in New York, Oct. 2. Stocks are up on Friday, Dec. 26, 2014, in relatively quiet trading the day after Christmas.

US stocks rose on Friday, with major indexes hitting records and on track for a second straight weekly advance, though trading was light with many traders still out for the Christmas holiday.

The day's gain was broad, with all 10 S&P 500 industry sectors higher on the day. The advance continued Wall Street's recent upward bias, with the S&P up about 6 percent from a recent closing low hit earlier this month.

The S&P is on track for its 52nd record close of the year, the most since 1995 and the fourth-best annual record ever, while the Dow is on track for its seventh straight daily gain, its longest streak since March 2013.

"The overall trend remains higher, but we're reaching a point where we're overbought. Six percent since last Tuesday is such a strong move in such a short period of time, even if bulls have the upper hand in the longer term," said Adam Sarhan, chief executive of Sarhan Capital in New York.

Recent gains have come on strong economic data, including a bullish read on economic growth earlier this week, as well as accommodative measures from central banks. Chinese media this week reported that the country's central bank was moving to further ease liquidity conditions inside banks.

The Nasdaq biotech index rose 2 percent, though it remains down 3.8 percent in a week marked by heavy volatility. Regeneron Pharmaceuticals rose 3.2 percent to $413.12 as the S&P 500's biggest percentage gainer, followed by Gilead Sciences, up 3 percent to $94.04.

At 10:58 a.m., the Dow Jones industrial average rose 56.99 points, or 0.32 percent, to 18,087.2, the S&P 500 gained 8.59 points, or 0.41 percent, to 2,090.47 and the Nasdaq Composite added 26.18 points, or 0.55 percent, to 4,799.65.

For the week, the Dow is up 1.6 percent, the S&P 500 is up 1 percent and the Nasdaq is up 0.7 percent. It is the second straight weekly gain for all three, and the ninth positive week in the past ten for the Dow and S&P.

The S&P Retail index rose 0.5 percent in the first trading session after Christmas. Among notable names, Best Buy Co rose 1.2 percent to $39.37 while Macy's Inc dipped 0.4 percent to $64.02. Amazon.com Inc rose 1.2 percent to $306.66.

"The data still isn't in yet, but things are looking positive since the shopping season coincided with a big drop in crude oil, which means lower gas prices," Sarhan said. "That translates to more disposable income, which could mean stronger retail sales."

Advancing issues outnumbered declining ones on the NYSE by 2,132 to 717, for a 2.97-to-1 ratio on the upside; on the Nasdaq, 1,770 issues rose and 787 fell for a 2.25-to-1 ratio favoring advancers.

The benchmark S&P 500 index was posting 56 new 52-week highs and 5 new lows; the Nasdaq Composite was recording 69 new highs and 12 new lows.

(Editing by Meredith Mazzilli)

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