Strong gains in consumer spending and technology stocks fueled a long-awaited Santa Claus rally on Wall Street.
Major indexes each gained more than 1 percent, with tech stocks again leading the way after a strong performance Thursday. Trading on the New York Stock Exchange hit a record volume for the opening half-hour of the market, officials there said, and the Dow hit its high for the day right at the close.
Investors shrugged off news that the Federal Reserve's favorite inflation indicatorreflected the dueling concerns of rising prices and slowing economic growth. Instead, they focused on numbers showing a sharp increase in consumer spending.
Earnings results for tech leaders Research in Motion also helped spur the powerful rally.
"The market's taken some bad news over the last week or so pretty well and we're starting to see a glimmer of good news," said Steve Sachs, director of trading at Rockville, Md.-based Rydex Investments. "Given the lack of activity next week we probably will see this bid in the market continue as go towards the new year."