By Caroline Valetkevitch
NEW YORK — The Dow and SP 500 finished at record highs Thursday as data showed further strength in the U.S. economy and Intel gave an upbeat forecast.
Tech shares gave the market its biggest lift, along with energy. Boosting all three major indexes, Intel shares jumped 4.7 percent to $35.95, hitting their highest level since January 2002, after its 2015 revenue outlook was above Wall Street’s expectations and the company raised its dividend.
The SP technology index rose 0.6 percent, while the energy index gained 1.1 percent.
Further supporting stocks, data showed factory activity in the U.S. mid-Atlantic region grew at its fastest pace in two decades, U.S. home resales jumped to their highest in more than a year in October, and a gauge of future U.S. economic activity gained.
Growth in the economy and earnings should bode well for stocks heading into next year, said Margaret Patel, senior portfolio manager at Wells Capital Management.
“Next year will be a reasonable to maybe a surprisingly good year,” she said. “[There is] no reason in the world why we can’t see P/Es expand.” Patel said stocks could rise by a mid single-digit to high-teens percentage next year.
The Dow Jones industrial average (^DJI) rose 33.27 points, or 0.19 percent, to 17,719, a record close. The Standard Poor’s 500 index (^GPSC) gained 4.03 points, or 0.2 percent, to 2,052.75, its 44th record high this year.
The Nasdaq composite (^IXIC) added 26.16 points, or 0.56 percent, to 4,701.87.
The Philadelphia Fed area “isn’t a hub of industrial activity anymore but it’s still important and it’s strong,” said Kim Forrest, senior equity research analyst at Fort Pitt Capital Group.
The upbeat U.S. data offset weakness overseas, including euro zone business growth that was slower than expected this month.
Best Buy (BBY) added 7 percent to $38.02, among the SP’s largest percentage gainers, after better-than-expected profit.
Among the top Nasdaq decliners was Keurig Green Mountain (GMCR), down 7.4 percent at $142.50, a day after it forecast fiscal first-quarter profit below analyst estimates.
After the bell, Gap (GPS) shares fell 4.9 percent to $38.19 following its results. Gap shares ended the regular session up 1.5 percent.
About 5.7 billion shares traded on U.S. exchanges, compared below 6.4 billion average this month, according to BATS Global Markets.
NYSE advancing issues outnumbered decliners 2,013 to 1,025, for a 1.96-to-1 ratio; on the Nasdaq, 1,824 issues rose and 893 fell for a 2.04-to-1 ratio.
–With additional reporting by Rodrigo Campos.
What to Watch Friday:
- Ann Inc. (ANN) and Foot Locker (FL) are scheduled to release quarterly financial results before U.S. markets open.