Thursday, Dec 14, 2017
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Stock Market

Stocks on best run in four years as economy revs

U.S. stocks extended records with an eighth straight gain, the dollar strengthened and Treasuries slipped as the latest batch of data added to optimism in the American economy ahead of Friday's jobs report. European markets got a boost after Catalans were said to stall their push for independence.

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The S&P 500 index stretched its streak of gains to the longest since 2013 after jobless claims and factory orders beat expectations. Bank shares rallied as yield on the 10-year note pushed toward the highest in two months following hawkish comments by Fed President John Williams. The dollar touched July levels as data showed the U.S. trade gap narrowed to an 11-month low. West Texas crude traded above $50 a barrel.

"The data we've had has been pretty good and again hawkish -- better than the inflation data we got with the PCE data last week," Michael O'Rourke, chief market strategist at JonesTrading Institutional Services, said by phone. "There's more re-pricing necessary in bonds, especially considering we're seeing pretty good economic data that's definitely going to keep the Fed on course."

Spanish equities, led by banks, drove a broader gauge of European stocks higher after reports said Catalan separatists were trying to find a way to put off a definitive declaration of independence as financial firms considered relocating. Bond yields in Spain rose, lifting other debt in Europe. The pound declined as political noise swirls around U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May's leadership.

Minutes from the European Central Bank released on Thursday showed members discussed how to adjust monetary stimulus next year as policy makers raised concern about the rapid appreciation of the euro. In the U.S., fewer people filed for unemployment benefits last week as the impact of hurricanes Harvey and Irma faded.

Coming Up:

--The U.S. September nonfarm payrolls report, likely to be affected by the impact of hurricanes on southern states, comes out on Friday.

Here are the main moves in markets:

--The S&P 500 index advanced 0.6 percent to a record 2,552.11 at 4 p.m. New York Time.

--The Dow Jones Industrial Average added 115 points to 22,756, rising for the seventh day in a row to a record.

--The Nasdaq 100 Stock index rose 0.9 percent to 6,054.

--The Stoxx Europe 600 index gained 0.2 percent after falling as much as 0.3 percent.

--Spain's IBEX index rose 2.5 percent, the most since in almost six months.

--The Bloomberg Dollar Spot index increased 0.6 percent, touching the highest in 11 weeks.

--The euro declined 0.5 percent to $1.1705.

--The British pound fell 1 percent to $1.3114, the weakest in four weeks.

--The yield on 10-year Treasuries rose two basis points to 2.34 percent.

--Germany's 10-year yield rose less than one basis point to 0.46 percent.

--Spain's 10-year yield fell 9 basis points to 1.699 percent.

--West Texas Intermediate crude gained 1.4 percent to settle at $50.86 a barrel.

--Gold fell 0.5 percent to $1,268.59 an ounce.

--Copper surged 2.8 percent to $304 per pound, the biggest gain in more than five weeks.

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