Market Wrap: Record Highs for Dow, S&P 500, Russell 2000

Economy-Vital Signs
Charles Rex Arbogast/APTrading was light on Friday, with many people out shopping.
By Ryan Vlastelica

NEW YORK -- U.S. stocks ended higher on Friday, with both the Dow (^DJI) and S&P 500 (^GPSC)closing at records in a broad rally, though trading was light with many market participants still out for the Christmas holiday. The Russell 2000 (^RUT) climbed 8.42 points, or 0.7 percent, to 1,215.21. That's an increase of 0.5 percent from the Russell's previous all-time high on March 4.

Major indexes closed out their second straight weekly gain, continuing an advance that has lifted the S&P 5.9 percent in seven sessions. The benchmark index hit its 52nd record close of the year on Friday, the most since 1995 and the fourth-best annual record ever, while the Dow rose for a seventh straight day, 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.

investors have been encouraged by signs of a strengthening U.S. economy, which the government estimates grew in the July-September quarter at the fastest pace in 11 years. Consumer spending and personal incomes have been rising. The economy has been creating more jobs. The markets also have history on their side. December is typically the best month of the year for stocks, while January is the second-best.

Utility Sector Is the Strongest

The day's gains were broad, with eight of the S&P 500's 10 primary sectors ending up on the day and no sector ending more than 0.1 percent lower. The utility sector was the day's strongest, up 1.2 percent, while health care rose 0.8 percent.

Health care stocks were boosted by biotechs, which jumped 2.3 percent. While the Nasdaq biotech index was one of the day's strongest sectors, it fell 3.2 percent in a week marked by heavy volatility. Celgene (CELG) rose 3.4 percent to $113.35 as the S&P 500's biggest percentage gainer, followed by Regeneron Pharmaceuticals (REGN), up 3.3 percent to $413.48.

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 23.5 points, or 0.13 percent, to 18,053.71, the S&P 500 gained 6.89 points, or 0.33 percent, to 2,088.77 and the Nasdaq Composite (^IXIC) added 33.39 points, or 0.7 percent, to 4,806.86. For the week, the Dow rose 1.4 percent, the S&P rose 0.9 percent and the Nasdaq rose 0.9 percent. It was the ninth positive week in the past 10 for the Dow and S&P.

Out Shopping

The S&P Retail index rose 0.5 percent in the first trading session after Christmas. Among notable names, Best Buy (BBY) rose 0.6 percent to $39.14 while Macy's (M) dipped 0.3 percent to $64.05. (AMZN) rose 2 percent to $309.18. "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 2,032 to 1,011, for a 2.01-to-1 ratio on the upside; on the Nasdaq, 1,792 issues rose and 934 fell for a 1.92-to-1 ratio favoring advancers. The benchmark S&P 500 index was posting 70 new 52-week highs and five new lows; the Nasdaq Composite was recording 133 new highs and 28 new lows. About 3.06 billion shares traded on all U.S. platforms, according to BATS exchange data, compared with the month-to-date average of 7.39 billion.

The Associated Press contributed to this post.
The Best Thing I Ever Bought for $20 or Less
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Market Wrap: Record Highs for Dow, S&P 500, Russell 2000
"The best thing I ever bought for $20 or less was the book "Grunch of Giants" by R. Buckminster Fuller. GRUNCH stands for GRoss Universal Cash Heist -- and it explains how our wealth is stolen via our money. Reading that book made me understand my rich dad's lessons and the need to become financially educated ... and led me to write 'Rich Dad Poor Dad.' "
" 'Most valuable' would be an abstract painting I bought at a thrift store for $12, not because I liked it, but because I recognized the stamp of a prestigious art gallery on the back. It later appraised and sold for $1,200," said Jeff Yeager of The Ultimate Cheapskate. " 'Best thing' was the $2 plate lunch I bought for the girl sitting next to me at a local diner one day when I was in college. She's now been my wife for more than 30 years."
"Back in 2012, I purchased a $400 GE window air conditioner for just $11.67 from (WMT) Plus, shipping to store was free," said Roland Karim, of Coupon Pro. "The only problem was that I couldn't get it to fit in my car, but that was the least of my worries. I ended up installing it inside my first investment home, just in time for the hot summer months here in California."
"My item would be the Rii Mini Wireless Keyboard," said Deacon Hayes, of Well Kept Wallet. "A fully functional keyboard that is super portable and easy to use. It is small enough to fit in my pocket and it even has a mouse built into the keyboard. It is perfect for browsing the internet on your TV. I just hook it up to my laptop, which is connected to my TV, and we are good to go."
"Tired of running out of battery on my iPhone during my son's lacrosse games and daughter's dance recitals, I invested less than $20 in an EasyAcc portable external battery charger," said Alicia Hagan of "Now I don't have to worry about my phone running out of charge while I'm capturing once-in-a-lifetime moments of my kids."
"I got an Anne Fontaine dress on eBay (EBAY) for $20. It was because the seller listed it with a bad, blurry photo," said Mary Hall of The Recessionista. "I thought I had seen the dress in the store, so I had an idea of which dress it was and what it looked like. I won the eBay auction because no one else bid. It's a great dress, really a steal! The fit is perfect! I felt bad for the seller, but her naivete was my good luck. Anne Fontaine dresses retail for hundreds of dollars, so it may have been the deal of the century!"
The best thing I ever bought recently was a pair of jeans for $20," said Jason Vitug of "Now that probably seems strange, but coming from a guy who used to buy jeans that cost on average $180 per pair, I found a good pair that's lasted over a year. The color, fit and style after tons of washing remains the same as if I bought it a day ago. I did buy these meditation beads in Myanmar back in 2012 for $5 and bring them with me. I was walking through a market and saw this small shop in the corner selling what looked like old artifacts. An older lady came out and it caught my eye and I asked if it was just a necklace. Only thing I bought for myself in that yearlong journey. Reminds me of my trip year round backpacking, my mission and ensures I take 20 minutes a day to have gratitude, reflect and clear my thoughts. I've currently gone minimalist at this point in my life. I pretty much sold most of my things and currently don't buy unless necessary, such as replacing an item. Buy a new shirt, donate an older shirt kind of thing."

"My hobby is collecting art and decorating. But for my bathroom, I wanted something less expensive," said Barbara Friedberg of Barbara Friedberg Personal Finance. "For less than $20 (and about one hour) I created a beautiful "salon wall" which looks like a million. Here are the steps:

  1. Bought a sale package of modern art note cards for $9.
  2. Picked up several free postcards at a museum.
  3. Bought nine matching frames for the post cards at Ikea for just $1 each.
  4. Framed the postcards and hung on the wall.

The total cost was $18 plus tax and the result was beautiful (and expensive-looking)."

"I bought an app for $1.99 called Turbo Scan for my iPhone," said Stephanie Nelson of "It replaces my scanner, my copier in many cases and I can use it wherever I am. The process is much more efficient than the scanners in my offices, which I never use anymore and cost over $200! I just take a picture of the document with the scanner, and one click sends it via email or text message. Thinking about what my $1.99 app has replaced -- two actual scanners (one in my office and one [at home]), overnight mail, faxing, regular mail. Plus think of the paper and ink saved."
"I just recently bought these $7 heels from Goodwill," said Crystal Stemberger of Budgeting in the Fun Stuff. "It almost felt like stealing! Yay for legal theft."
"A few different bottles of hot sauce!" said Jon Lal of BeFrugal. "The right sauce can make any dish your own, and a little goes a long way, making it a great value. Some of my favorites are any type of tabasco, sriracha, Spontaneous Combustion, Cholula and Pace Picante."
"One of the best things I ever bought for less than $20 was two tickets to a local chili cook-off at the Jewish Community Center," said Amanda Grossman of Frugal Confessions. "The chili was delicious, and free craft beers were served. Then our tickets got us into two different films at the upcoming Jewish Film Festival for free where we were delighted to see "The Real Inglorious Bastards" and "Hunting for Elephants" for free. As if all that was not enough, after the second movie was a catered s'mores party, which meant we also enjoyed free wine, beer and all the s'mores we could eat."
"The best thing I've recently bought for under $20 is my iPad mini cover," said Rachel Cruze, personal finance expert at Ramsey Personalities. "Since I travel a lot, I always have my iPad with me. That $20 investment will help my $300 purchase last much longer."
"I'm a pretty frugal guy, and there's lots of things I've purchased over the years for less than $20 that have served me well. Here are three that come to mind: I picked up a blender on clearance at the Best Buy (BBY) website for $10 (and free shipping). I use it all the time. It works much better than a typical food processor and I've used it for smoothies, soup recipes, themed holiday drinks, guacamole and more. A few years back I also invested in rechargeable batteries. I picked up a charger and eight AA batteries on eBay  for $13. I have a young son, and I used to spend a bunch of money on disposable batteries. That device has saved me hundreds of dollars over the years. And probably about 10 years ago, I found a combination hammer and screwdriver set at my local hardware store. I think I paid $5 for it. It includes a small hammer and four screwdrivers of varying sizes that all fit conveniently into the base of the hammer. I've used that for plenty of small projects around the house, and it really comes in handy when trying to unscrew the battery lids on my son's toys."
"I just bought six LED light bulbs for $22, including tax! I paid $3.67 per bulb -- which is as much as CFLs go for -- saving me $200," said Julia Scott of "And that's just the savings off the bat. I'll save hundreds of dollars over the life of the bulbs. I crunched the numbers on Bargain Babe and LEDs save more than $250 when compared to incandescent lights, especially when you get them as cheap as I did. I found out about a special limited-time National Grid program in Rhode Island and jumped on it."

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