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US stocks close the week on the plus side

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US stocks close the week on the plus side

Stocks on the American exchanges rose, with the benchmark gauges extending their record highs, as market participants weighed the latest testimony from Federal Reserve Vice Chair Janet Yellen.

Market sentiment favours a continuation of record stimulus after Yellen said the Fed will continue to support the nation’s recovery. US stocks have been a prime benefactor of record stimulus, with the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index climbing more than 160 percent since early 2009. The benchmark gauge advanced another 7.56 points to 1,798.18, inching ever-closer to 1,800.00. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 85.48 points to 15,961.70 after all but five of its 30 members reported gains.

Economic data were mostly negative to close out the week. Total industrial production fell 0.1 percent in October, despite stronger than expected factory output. The manufacturing industry continues to be a catalyst for US recovery. However, manufacturing activity unexpectedly declined in the New York region in November, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. Manufacturing comes to the fore next week when Markit Group releases its monthly PMI indicator.

Exxon Mobil Corp (NYSE:XOM) and FedEx Corp (NYSE:FDX) gained at least 1.6 percent after a pair of billionaire investors disclosed their stake in the companies. Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE:BRK.B) is supporting the oil giant, while George Soros is backing FedEx.

“The US is in a secular bull market,” said Thomas Lee, a Chief US equity strategist. “Pent-up demand in sectors from housing to cars will boost corporate earnings while the Fed continues its “supportive” monetary policy,” Lee also added. Corporate earnings continue to outpace expectations, as 75 percent of the 461 S&P 500 companies to announce earnings have exceeded revenue forecasts.

The holiday season could very well catapult the stock exchange to new highs, as investors await the Chairmanship of Janet Yellen. The incoming Fed boss won’t rush to pull the plug on record stimulus, which is expected to top $4 trillion in the coming months.

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