By Lewis Krauskopf
(Reuters) – The S&P 500 and the Dow industrials edged higher to fresh records on Friday, as a year-end rally fueled by optimism over an initial U.S.-China trade deal chugged along.
The Nasdaq was slightly lower, however, putting the tech-heavy index on pace to snap its 11-session streak of gains.
With only a few days left for the year, the benchmark S&P 500 has climbed more than 29% so far in 2019, its biggest annual percentage gain since 2013.
Investor expectations that the United States and China will soon sign a Phase 1 trade deal has added momentum to the stock market heading into 2020.
“You’ve got expectations that the Phase 1 trade agreement is signed in early to mid January,” said James Ragan, director of wealth management research at D.A. Davidson.
“In a situation where you have got the trade expectation that could help stimulate business spending next year, still low interest rates and the strong consumer. That’s a recipe for equity values to continue to move higher,” Ragan said.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average () rose 51.68 points, or 0.18%, to 28,673.07, the S&P 500 () gained 1.39 points, or 0.04%, to 3,241.3 and the Nasdaq Composite () dropped 10.87 points, or 0.12%, to 9,011.53.
Among S&P 500 sectors, consumer staples (), real estate <.splrcr> and consumer discretionary () led the way.
Shares of Amazon.com Inc (O:) rose 0.3%, building on strong gains a day earlier when a report showed U.S. shoppers spent more online during the holiday shopping season than in 2018.
Financials () and energy () lagged among the sectors.
Aside from optimism over trade relations, the stock market has been lifted by interest rate cuts by the Federal Reserve and better than feared economic data and corporate profits.
Data on Friday showed profits at China’s industrial firms grew at the fastest pace in eight months in November, but broad weakness in the country’s domestic demand remains a risk for company earnings next year.
Trading volume has been thin during the holiday shortened week and could continue to be sparse through the New Year’s holiday next Wednesday.
Advancing issues outnumbered declining ones on the NYSE by a 1.11-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 1.30-to-1 ratio favored decliners.
The S&P 500 posted 57 new 52-week highs and no new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 83 new highs and 18 new lows.
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