U.S. stocks advanced on Thursday, with all three major averages finishing at fresh record highs. The Dow climbed 105 points, while the S&P 500 added 0.5%. The Nasdaq Composite rallied another 0.8% as the Tech-heavy benchmark eclipsed 9,000 for the first time and extended its recent winning streak to 11 sessions. With just three trading days left in 2019, the S&P 500 is up 29.2% for the year, on track for its best annual return since 2013 when the index rallied 29.6%.
Ten of 11 S&P 500 sectors traded higher on the session. Consumer Discretionary stocks paced the gains, with Amazon gaining more than 4% after the e-commerce giant posted record sales over the holiday period.
Despite six less shopping days in the 2019 holiday season, total U.S. retail sales rose 3.4% from the same period last year, according to MasterCard SpendingPulse. The Communications sector also outperformed, with Facebook climbing 0.9% and Google parent Alphabet adding more than 1%. Health Care shares were the lone laggard, with Medtronic finishing 0.6% lower.
On the data front, a report showed that mortgage applications fell 5.3% in the most recent week. Another release showed that initial jobless claims fell to 222,000, below the previous week’s 235,000 reading. Treasuries were mixed along the curve, with the yield on the 10-year off two basis points to 1.89%. In commodities, WTI crude rose another 0.9% to $61.68/barrel, leaving oil prices headed for their best monthly performance since January. COMEX gold ended 0.7% higher at $1,509.30/ounce.