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Dow, S&P 500 Set Record-high Closes Ahead of Thanksgiving

  • Reuters

Tom Farley, president of the NYSE Group, poses for a selfie with Santa Claus, who rang the opening bell to celebrate the Macy's 90th Annual Thanksgiving Day Parade, at the New York Stock Exchange in New York City, Nov. 23, 2016.

Tom Farley, president of the NYSE Group, poses for a selfie with Santa Claus, who rang the opening bell to celebrate the Macy's 90th Annual Thanksgiving Day Parade, at the New York Stock Exchange in New York City, Nov. 23, 2016.

The Dow Jones industrial average and the Standard & Poor's 500 eked out record-high closes Wednesday ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday, helped by gains in industrial stocks, though losses in technology shares limited the advance and weighed on the Nasdaq.

Caterpillar's share price rose 2.7 percent and hit its highest level in about two years, while Deere jumped 11 percent to a record-high close after the farm equipment maker reported a decline in profit that was much smaller than expected.

Industrial stocks also were given a boost by a report that showed a strong jump in orders for durable goods in October because of demand for machinery and other equipment.

The industrials index has jumped since the November 8 U.S. election on bets that President-elect Donald Trump's plans to boost infrastructure spending would benefit the industry.

Stocks had little reaction to minutes from the latest Federal Reserve meeting, which showed policymakers appeared confident on the eve of the U.S. election that the economy was strengthening enough to warrant interest rate increases soon.

Expectations among investors remained high that the Fed will raise rates in December.

"It's fully factored in," said John Traynor, executive vice president and chief information officer of People's United Wealth Management in Bridgeport, Connecticut. "What you're seeing right now is a lot of portfolio repositioning. Those are people who had a portfolio built for a slower-growth environment and are now moving to position themselves for a different administration and a different environment."

Pre-holiday activity

Volume was lighter than usual, with many market participants heading out early ahead of the U.S. Thanksgiving Day holiday on Thursday. The U.S. stock market will be closed Thursday and will close early on Friday.

The Dow rose 59.31 points, or 0.31 percent, to end at 19,083.18, while the S&P 500 gained 1.78 points, or 0.08 percent, to 2,204.72. The Nasdaq Composite dropped 5.67 points, or 0.11 percent, to 5,380.68.

Traynor and others said a pullback could be in order soon, given the sharp recent run higher. "We're advising clients the market is ahead of itself so be prepared for a pullback," he said.

Eli Lilly fell 10.5 percent to $68 a share after the company said it would stop developing its Alzheimer's drug following a trial failure. Biogen, which is developing a similar drug, fell 3.8 percent.

Advancing issues outnumbered declining ones on the NYSE by a 1.02-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 1.43-to-1 ratio favored advancers.

The S&P 500 posted 66 new 52-week highs and three new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 321 new highs and 21 new lows. About 6.5 billion shares changed hands on U.S. exchanges, compared with the 8.1 billion daily average for the past 20 trading days, according to Thomson Reuters data.

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