Dow Jones Industrial Average, S&P 500 close for Christmas at record highs

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The tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index tacked on 6.51 (0.16 per cent) to 4,155.41. The tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index tacked on 6.51 (0.16 per cent) to 4,155.41.
SummaryUS stocks continue their record-breaking run following solid reports on durable goods, new home sales.

US stocks continued their record-breaking run today, closing before a Christmas break at a new all time high following solid reports on durable goods and new home sales.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 both hit their highest ever levels, rising 62.94 points (0.39 per cent) to 16,357.55 and 5.33 (0.29 per cent) to 1,833.32 respectively.

The tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index tacked on 6.51 (0.16 per cent) to 4,155.41.

Investors were cheered by a report showing orders of durable goods surged 3.5 percent in November, more than expected.

And, although new home sales in November declined slightly from the October level, the figure still bested expectations.

"It's a holly, jolly data Christmas for the economy as all signs point to an accelerating economy," said economist Joel Naroff.

The S&P 500 is up more than 28 percent since the start of the year, a rally sustained by the US Federal Reserve's loose monetary policy and generally better economic data.

And the market's latest big run-up came despite last week's decision by the Fed to scale back stimulus because of the better economy.

Michael James, managing director of equity trading at Wedbush Securities, called the data "positive" and said overall sentiment remains strong.

"The market has had a good year," James said. "There is no reason for people to be selling things today, so why sell?"

Electric-car manufacturer Tesla Motors rose 5.5 per cent after the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration confirmed a five-star safety rating for Tesla's Model S vehicle.

American Express rose 0.4 per cent after reaching settlements to resolve charges it overbilled customers. The credit card company will pay USD 16.2 million in fines and at least USD 59.5 million in customer remediation.

Social networking company Twitter surged 8.4 per cent higher on improving sentiment. The company also rose 7.6 per cent yesterday.

Retail giant Target lost 0.3 per cent following reports that US and state regulators are investigating a data breach at stores that Target has said could have affected some 40 million customers nationwide.

The yield on a 10-year US Treasury rose to 2.98 per cent from 2.93 per cent, while the 30-year increased to 3.90 percent from 3.84.

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