Stocks reach new highs

CaptionCloseWall Street capped a week of milestones Friday 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...

Stocks reach new highs

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Wall Street capped a week of milestones Friday 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.

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.

"We had a drought for a very, very long time last year where we went almost a year and a half without hitting a new high, which was the longest time ever," said Randy Frederick, vice president of trading & derivatives at Charles Schwab. "Now we're back to what I would say is more of a typical move, where you get record highs consistently."

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 96.97 points, or 0.5 percent, to 20,269.37. The Standard & Poor's 500 index gained 8.23 points, or 0.4 percent, to 2,316.10. The Nasdaq composite index added 18.95 points, or 0.3 percent, 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 percent, to 1,388.84.

Trading got off to a good start early Friday, as investors sized up the latest batch of company earnings. Some 70 percent of the companies in the S&P 500 have reported quarterly results as of Friday. About 40 percent 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 eyeing Washington for signs the Trump administration will deliver on the promised business-friendly policy proposals that helped drive a market rally last fall, including slashing government regulations and taxes.

"The market has been pretty generous ever since the election in moving in anticipation of what might come," Frederick said. "The question is at what point does the market expect to see things actually happen versus just promises of action. That's the tricky part."

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

Skechers gained $4.50, or 19.3 percent, to $27.78, while CBRE Group climbed $2.43, or 7.7 percent, to $34. 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, or 18.9 percent, to $47.23.

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