By Matt Krantz, USA TODAY
Just days after worrying about falling off the "fiscal cliff," investors now are seeing stocks scale new bull market heights.
the broad Standard & Poor's 500 stock index became the first of the
big three U.S. indexes to set a new bull market closing high, topping
the previous high set more than three months ago. It is also the highest
close since December 2007, before a financial crisis triggered the
worst bear market since the Great Depression.
The S&P closed
at 1466.47, less than 1 point above its previous bull market closing
high on Sept. 14. For the day, the S&P was up 7 points, or a little
less than 0.5%.
The gain comes on top of a powerful opening-year rally as Wall Street cheered the last-minute tax deal by politicians.
For the week, the broad S&P 500 gained 4.6%.
Wilshire 5000, a broad-based index of medium to small-sized companies,
has more than doubled since the lows of financial markets in the wake of
the financial crisis. The index is up 125.27% -- $10.3 trillion --
since March 9, 2009.
Seeing the stock market at new bull market
highs is a major vote of confidence for investors, who just a few months
ago worried that a failure by lawmakers to sign a deal could put the
economy at risk of recession.
The Dow Jones industrial average
gained 0.3% for the day, up 44 points to about 13,435. The Nasdaq
composite was basically flat, up less than 0.05%.
rallying a week ago on hopes of a deal. The Dow Jones industrial average
is 1.3% from its 2012 bull market high and the Nasdaq composite is 2.6%
below its. The Wilshire 5000 index also is at a new bull market high
and shows the value of the U.S. stock market has risen more than $10.2
trillion since the March 2009 bear market low.
Stocks sold off
sharply following the November elections on worries about automatic tax
increases and spending cuts that would take effect on Jan. 1 unless
Congress could reach a compromise. Since the recent low on Nov. 15, the
S&P 500 has now gained 8.4%.
yield on the 10-year Treasury bond rose to 1.91% from 1.9% Thursday and
1.7% last Friday. Gold prices fell $17.70, or 1.1%, to $1,656.90,
suggesting that gold bugs don't see much of a threat of inflation in the
latest employment report.
The euro is 0.3% higher against the
dollar at 1.3071 while the dollar gained 0.8% against the yen at 88.16.
The price of oil continued to fall, down 0.1% to $93.04 a barrel.
Street stocks reacted poorly Thursday to minutes from the most recent
meeting of the Federal Reserve that showed opinion was divided over how
long the central bank should keep in place its program of
economy-supporting bond purchases. The Dow, the S&P 500 and the
Nasdaq all ended Thursday's session with losses.
On Friday, market attention turned to the government's December jobs report.
had forecast -- right on the money -- that employers added 155,000 jobs
in December, according to a survey by FactSet. That would be slightly
higher than November's 146,000, revised downward by 2,000 in today's
report. The unemployment rate wa projected to remain at 7.7%.
December employment data added some context to jobs reports released
Thursday from private research firms that showed private-sector
employers added a better-than-forecast 215,000 jobs in December,
although weekly applications for unemployment benefits moved higher, to
Europe, stocks ended Friday modestly higher. The FTSE 100 index in
London closed up 0.7% at 6,089.84. Germany's DAX 30 index ended up 0.3%
at 7,776.37 and France's CAC 40 index finished up 0.2% at 3,730.02.
Japan, the nation's benchmark Nikkei 225 leaped 2.8% to close at
10,688.11 as the stock index, closed over the recent holiday period, was
given its first opportunity to react to Tuesday's announcement of a
deal over the so-called "fiscal cliff" in Washington.
yen was also a factor helping to push Japanese stocks higher. Major
markets in the rest of the Asia-Pacific region declined.
The Hang Sang index in Hong Kong finished up 0.3% to 23,331.09 Friday while Singapore's STI index ended almost flat at 3,225.22.
Contributing: The Associated Press