Stocks End Shortened Holiday Week With Continued Gains

July 7, 2008 - 7:22 PM

(CNSNews.com) - Even though the trading week ended early because of the Christmas holiday, Wall Street finished the day -- and the week -- in positive territory.

For the third straight session, all three major markets made gains on Thursday. The Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed 11.23 points to reach 10,827.12, the Nasdaq Composite index rose 3.59 points to 2,160.62, and the Standard & Poor's 500 index edged up 0.56 points to 1,2,10.13.

"It's just typical day-before-the-holiday trading," Todd Clark, head of listed-stock trading at Wells Fargo Securities in San Francisco, told CNN. "The economic numbers that came out this morning weren't enough to sway people to be overly optimistic or overly pessimistic."

Several reports were released during the day, including information that U.S. consumers were more confident regarding the state of the economy in December. The University of Michigan's consumer confidence index for December was 97.1, up from November's reading of 92.8 and this month's preliminary reading of 95.7.

Also, Commerce Department figures showed that orders for U.S. durable goods were up strongly in November.

However, consumer spending picked up just 0.2 percent last month as purchases of new cars dropped sharply. And initial claims for U.S. jobless benefits rose to 333,000 this past week, exceeding economists' forecast for 330,000 claims.

In currency markets, the euro hit a record high against the dollar, reaching the $1.35 level for the first time, and the dollar lost ground against the Japanese yen.

Among the gainers in Thursday's session were ExxonMobil, Citigroup, American Greetings and Pfizer, which continued its resurgence after losing ground last week because of concerns over the arthritis drug Celebrex.

Most overseas markets ended the session with increases. While Japan's Nikkei stock average, Germany's DAX index and France's CAC-40 all gained ground, Britain's FTSE 100 slipped slightly in Thursday trading.

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