By Corrie Driebusch and Riva Gold
U.S. stocks edged higher Friday, poised to notch fresh records as markets reopened after the Thanksgiving holiday.
U.S. stocks are set to close out their third straight week of gains amid expectations for reduced corporate taxation and regulation and greater infrastructure spending. Thanks to these past three weeks, the Dow industrials are on track to end the year with nearly 10% gains, which would mark their best annual finish since 2013.
"Nothing is stopping the market at this point," said Jonathan Corpina, senior managing partner at Meridian Equity Partners. He said the New York Stock Exchange trading floor was very quiet Friday.
The S&P 500 rose 0.2% in recent trading, the Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed 0.3% and the Nasdaq Composite gained 0.2%. All are on track to post new record closes.
Stock markets in the U.S. close early Friday at 1 p.m. ET.
The blue-chip index, S&P 500 and Russell 2000 all closed at records for a third consecutive session on Wednesday before the Thanksgiving holiday.
"The surprising thing after the election was not that we rallied to this level, it was the speed at which we got there," said Scott Wren, senior global equity strategist at Wells Fargo Investment Institute.
This series of new highs is a far cry from the start of the year, when analysts' expectations for stocks were much more dour.
Now, "there is a lot of enthusiasm out there" surrounding the election and what policies President-elect Donald Trump may push to implement, including spending on infrastructure, looseningregulation for big banks and cutting taxes, said Mr. Wren.
However, he and others caution that these plans aren't going to happen overnight.
"A lot of people point to the U.S. election as the turning point," said Norman Villamin, chief investment officer at Union Bancaire Privée, "but I see it more as an acceleration of an existing trend," he said. "This is really what we look at as a consequence of a normalization of [U.S. interest rate] policy."
Indeed, supporting the rally on Wall Street, money has also continued to pour out of government bonds, U.S. real estate and gold funds, and into the U.S. equity market in the most recent week, according to fund-tracker EPFR Global.
Investors expect the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates in December and again in 2017.
The yield on the 10-year Treasury note rose to 2.375% on Friday, according to Tradeweb, from a one-year closing high of 2.355% on Wednesday, amid concerns about higher inflation and interest rates. Yields move inversely to prices.
After a multidecade government bond market rally, "we're all asking ourselves if this is the big paradigm shift or not," said Mitul Patel, head of rates at Henderson Global Investors. While many investors are convinced there will be higher U.S. inflation next year, questions remain on the outlook for growth.
The bond market is due to close early on Friday at 2 p.m. ET.
In Europe, the Stoxx Europe 600 inched up 0.2%, while Asian markets closed with modest gains.
In currencies, the WSJ Dollar Index, which measures the dollar against a basket of 16 currencies, edged down 0.3% on Friday after settling at its highest level since 2002.
In commodities, oil prices declined Friday, weighing on shares of energy and mining companies. U.S.-traded crude oil declined 3.5% to $46.30 a barrel ahead of next week's meeting of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, where producers are expected to reach a deal to curb output.
Earlier, shares in Asia advanced in low-volume trading, with Japan's Nikkei Stock Average hitting a 10-month high as a recent decline in the yen against the dollar boosted exporters' shares.
Markets in Hong Kong and Shanghai rose 0.5% and 0.6% respectively, while Australian stocks added 0.4%.
Kenan Machado contributed to this article.
Write to Corrie Driebusch at email@example.com and Riva Gold at firstname.lastname@example.org
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
November 25, 2016 12:19 ET (17:19 GMT)
Copyright (c) 2016 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.