U.S. Stocks Rise to Records as GDP Growth Tops Estimates (Dec 2013)

Dow_Jones

Source: Bloomberg – U.S. Stocks Rise to Records as GDP Growth Tops Estimates

Notable excerpts:

U.S. stocks rose, with the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index capping its biggest weekly gain since October, as data showing faster-than-estimated growth boosted confidence in the world’s largest economy.

The S&P 500 added 0.5 percent to a record 1,818.32 at 4 p.m. in New York. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 42.06 points, or 0.3 percent, to 16,221.14, also an all-time high. About 9.2 billion shares changed hands on U.S. changes in the busiest trading since June as futures and options contracts expired today in a process known as quadruple witching and the operator of the S&P 500 rebalanced the index in a quarterly move to adjust member weightings.

“The market is feeling somewhat confident,” said Robert Pavlik, chief market strategist in New York at Banyan Partners LLC, which manages about $4.5 billion. “It’s encouraging as an investor and consumer to see GDP get up to these levels. GDP reaching 4 percent makes you feel good about the economy and where we’re headed.

The S&P 500 rose 2.4 percent this week, halting a string of two weekly declines and erasing a loss for the month, after the Federal Reserve’s decision to slow the pace of its stimulus boosted investor confidence that the recovery in the world’s largest economy is on course. The Dow’s weekly advance of 3 percent was its biggest since September.

GDP Expansion

Data today showed the rate of expansion in the third quarter was faster than previously estimated as consumers stepped up spending on services such as health care and companies invested more in software. Gross domestic product climbed at a 4.1 percent annualized rate, the strongest since the final three months of 2011 and up from a previous estimate of 3.6 percent, Commerce Department figures showed.

“This revised GDP number was really positive,” Colleen Supran, a principal at San Francisco-based Bingham, Osborn & Scarborough, which manages about $3 billion, said in a phone interview. “It helps complete the story on what the Fed did this week and that is, the Fed has some belief that the economy is getting close to being able to stand on its own.

The S&P 500 has rallied 27 percent so far in 2013, on course for its best performance since 1997. Three rounds of central-bank bond purchases have helped propel the equity benchmark 169 percent higher from a 12-year low in 2009.

The Fed will probably reduce its bond purchases by $10 billion in each of its next seven meetings before ending the program in December 2014, according to the median forecast in a Bloomberg survey of 41 economists conducted on Dec. 19.

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