Stocks Rise on Wall Street, Indices Point to Weekly Gains

BANGKOK – Stocks rose Thursday afternoon on Wall Street, putting major indices on track for weekly gains and pushing the S&P 500 to an all-time high.

The S&P 500 rose 0.7% at 12:19 p.m. EST and is hovering above the record set on December 10. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 201 points, or 0.6%, to 35,956 and the Nasdaq rose 0.8%.

About 85% of the benchmark S&P 500 stocks gained ground, led by technology companies and a wide range of retailers. The index is on track for a gain of 2.3% this week. US markets will be closed on Friday for Christmas.

Cisco systems, which make routers and other computer hardware, rose 1.2%. Chipmaker Micron Technology grew 4.8%.

Retailers and other businesses that depend on consumer spending have gained ground. Target rose 1.1% and Domino’s Pizza rose 2.3%.

Bond yields have increased. The 10-year Treasury yield rose to 1.49% from 1.46% on Wednesday night.

Secure sectors like real estate and utilities have lagged the market.

European markets were up and Asian markets closed higher overnight.

Investors received several economic updates on Thursday before heading for a holiday break for the markets.

The Commerce Department said U.S. consumer prices rose 5.7% in November from a year earlier, the fastest pace in 39 years, as a surge in inflation confronts Americans with the holiday shopping season. Companies have faced supply chain issues and higher raw material costs, and in turn passed these costs on to consumers.

Rising prices have raised fears that consumer spending, which accounts for 70% of U.S. economic activity, could slow down and hurt economic growth. The latest report shows spending rose 0.6%, well short of October’s 1.4% increase.

The housing market remains strong, according to the National Association of Realtors. Sales of new single-family homes rose 12.4% in November, the fastest pace in seven months.

The Labor Department said the number of Americans claiming unemployment benefits was unchanged last week, remaining at an all-time low that reflects the strong recovery in the labor market after the coronavirus recession last year.

The latest data on prices and jobs comes as investors continue to assess the potential impact of the latest wave of coronavirus cases due to the omicron variant. Governments in Asia and Europe have tightened travel controls or pushed back plans to ease restrictions already in place.

Damian J. Troise, The Associated Press

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