After Market: Strong GDP Growth Propels Stocks to a Winning Week

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Stocks rallied again on Friday, completing one of the market's best weeks of the year. This rally is tied to growing signs that the pace of U.S. economic growth is finally picking up. The government reported a 4.1 percent jump in GDP over the summer. That was much stronger than expected, and substantially higher than the previous estimate.

That came on top of strong reports this month on jobs, manufacturing and housing. At a news conference, President Obama said 2014 could be "a breakthrough year" for the U-S economy.

On Wall Street, the Dow Jones industrial average (^DJI) rose 42 points, and the Standard & Poor's 500 index (^GPSC) gained 9 -- both ending at record highs yet again. The Nasdaq composite index (^IXIC) rallied 46 points. For the week, the Dow was up about 3 percent.

Some retail stocks bounced higher as stores brace for the final weekend before Christmas. J.C. Penney (JCP) rose 4.5 percent, Urban Outfitters (URBN) gained 2 percent and American Eagle (AEO) gained 1.5 percent. And Target (TGT) edged higher, one day after acknowledging a massive security breach that exposed the personal information of millions of customers to hackers.

It was also a good day for online retailers. Amazon (AMZN) and eBay (EBAY) both rose by about 2 percent and Overstock.com (OSTK) gained 3 percent.

And how do we pay for all of those last minute gifts? Credit cards, of course. MasterCard (MA) and American Express (AXP) each gained 1.5 percent, and Visa (V) edged higher.

One of the day's best gainers was Blackberry (BBRY). It shares soared 15 percent even though the smartphone maker posted a bigger loss than expected. But the company's new CEO forecast a profit by 2016 and announced a partnership with the Taiwanese phone maker Foxconn.

A big green arrow for software maker Red Hat (RHT). It rallied 14 percent as earnings jumped, easily beating expectations.

Textron (TXT) gained 10 percent. The Financial Times reports the company is on the verge of buying the aircraft maker Beechcraft. Textron already owns Bell Helicopter.

But shares of CarMax (KMX) fell nearly 14 percent. The nation's biggest seller of used cars posted an earnings increase, but it fell short of Wall Street targets.

What to Watch Monday:
  • The Commerce Department releases personal income and spending for November at 8:30 a.m. Eastern time.
  • The University of Michigan releases its final survey for December of consumer sentiment at 9:55 a.m.
-Produced by Drew Trachtenberg.


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