New High or Dull Summer Friday?

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With stocks within shouting distance of the year’s highs, markets could head quietly into the weekend, as more than a few traders make a short day of a late summer Friday.

Leading indicators for July are reported at 10 a.m. ET, and consumer sentiment is released at 9:55 a.m. There are just a few earnings, from JM Smuckers, Ann, Foot Locker, Kirklands and Wynn Macau.

Stocks vaulted higher and the euro gained Thursday after German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Germany is committed to do everything it can to maintain the euro. She also called for fiscal discipline during a trip to Canada. Her comments were seen as supportive of European Central Bank President Mario Draghi, who promised the ECB would do all it can to stop the sovereign debt crisis.

“She came out and seemed to move the ball forward, but there was no detail in what she said,” said Art Cashin, director of floor trading at UBS. “It’s the perception of movement.”

The Dow finished up 85 at 13,250, and the S&P 500 rose 9 to 1,415, just 7 points below its year high. The Nasdaq gained 31 to 3,062. The Russell 2000 and the Dow Transports, both important late comers to the rally, were also higher. Yields continued to rise, and the 10-year was at 1.836 percent.

“I think they’re going to try to tiptoe into the weekend. You’ve got all these (futures and options) expirations next week,” Cashin said.

Follow Patti Domm on Twitter: @pattidomm

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