Wall Street ends week on a high

Wall Street capped a week of milestones today with a rally that pushed the major stock indexes to all-time highs for the second day in a row.

Small-company stocks did better than larger ones, nudging the Russell 2000 index to a record high for the first time since December.

Miners and other raw materials companies led the gainers. Rising crude oil prices also gave energy companies a big boost. Consumer goods stocks were essentially flat.

Strong company earnings and investor optimism over the Trump administration's promises of tax cuts, less government regulation and other policies helped fuel the market's gains much of the week. News that OPEC is largely adhering to a recent pact to cut crude oil production has also helped lift markets. The daily market moves have been mostly small, but big enough to push indexes to new heights.

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 96.97 points, or 0.5%, to 20,269.37. The Standard & Poor's 500 index gained 8.23 points, or 0.4%, to 2,316.10. The Nasdaq composite index added 18.95 points, or 0.3%, to 5,734.13. All told, the Nasdaq closed at a record high four times this week, as well as last Friday.

The Russell 2000 picked up 10.32 points, or 0.8%, to 1,388.84.

Trading got off to a good start early on Friday, as investors sized up the latest batch of company earnings. Some 70% of the companies in the S&P 500 have reported quarterly results as of Friday. About 40% of those turned in earnings and revenue that beat Wall Street's forecasts, according to S&P Global Market Intelligence.

Earnings are on track to mark the second-consecutive quarter of growth after a five-quarter losing streak.

Beyond earnings, investors are also eying Washington DC for signs the Trump administration will deliver on the promised business-friendly policy proposals that helped drive a market rally last autumn, including slashing government regulations and taxes.

Investors bid up shares in companies that turned in better earnings or outlooks than Wall Street was expecting, including footwear company Skechers, video game publisher Activision Blizzard and real estate investment company CBRE Group.

Skechers gained 4.50 dollars, or 19.3%, to 27.78 dollars, while CBRE Group climbed 2.43 dollars, or 7.7, to 34 dollars. Activision Blizzard was the biggest gainer in the S&P 500. The maker of Call of Duty, 'Candy Crush and other video games jumped 7.50 dollars, or 18.9%, to 47.23 dollars.

Major stock indexes in Europe closed mostly higher.

Britain's FTSE 100 added 0.4%, while Germany's DAX rose 0.2%. France's CAC 40 was flat. Greece's stock market gained 2.5% as its creditors met to find a way to ease concerns about the future of its bailout program.

In Asia, investors welcomed strong January trade data from China. Hong Kong's Hang Seng rose 0.2%, while South Korea's Kospi added 0.5%. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 jumped 1%. Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 index surged 2.5% as the yen weakened against the dollar, lifting shares of exporters.

Bond prices fell. The 10-year Treasury yield rose to 2.41% from 2.40% late on Thursday.

The dollar strengthened to 113.41 yen, up from 113.33 yen on Thursday. The euro weakened to 1.0631 dollars from 1.0658 dollars.

AP


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