By Corrie Driebusch and Riva Gold
U.S. stocks notched fresh records, capping a week when the Dow Jones Industrial Average breached 19000 for the first time.
It is the third consecutive week of gains for stocks as investors have bet on 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 9.9% 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.
On Friday, the S&P 500 rose 8.63 points, or 0.4%, to 2213.35 and the Dow Jones industrials climbed 68.96 points, or 0.4%, to 19152.14, while the Nasdaq Composite gained 18.24 points, or 0.3%, to 5398.92. All three indexes, as well as the Russell 2000, closed at records on Friday.
For the week, the Dow is up 1.5% while the S&P 500 climbed 1.4%. The Nasdaq Composite Index is up 1.45% this week.
Since the U.S. presidential election on Nov. 8, the Dow industrials are up 4.5%. It has reached eight new records in that period. Small-company index Russell 2000 has closed at a fresh record every trading session since Nov. 14.
"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.
Friday was the lowest volume day on the NYSE since Dec 24, 2015, with 1.46 billion shares changing hands, compared with year-to-date average daily volume of 3.88 billion shares.
Nasdaq composite volume reached 700 million shares traded, the lowest-volume day since Nov. 26, 2010. Year-to-date average daily volume on Nasdaq is 1.88 billion shares.
The 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, loosening regulation 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 benchmark 10-year Treasury note settled at 2.359% Friday. While that was the highest close since July 2015, it was marginally higher compared with 2.355% Wednesday.
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.
In Europe, the Stoxx Europe 600 inched up 0.2% Friday, putting itsweekly gain at 0.9%.
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 on Thursday.
In commodities, oil prices took their biggest daily losses in two months as skepticism grew Friday about whether global exporters can strike an effective deal to cut production. Light, sweet crude for January delivery settled down $1.90, or 4%, to $46.06 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
Earlier, shares in Asia advanced in low-volume trading, with Japan's Nikkei Stock Average posting its highest close since January. For the week the Nikkei is up 2.3%.
Write to Corrie Driebusch at firstname.lastname@example.org and Riva Gold at email@example.com
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
November 25, 2016 15:38 ET (20:38 GMT)
Copyright (c) 2016 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.