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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18 Comments

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k4jlp

If all of the poor and middle class Americans money were not going to out of pocket medical and highly inflated energy cost, you would see spending that would spur the economy AND JOBS CREATED. But thats not what Exxon-Mobile and the insurance companies AND CONGRESS WANT. How many Congress members are Exxon-Mobile shareholders and have accepted "donations" from insurance/medical lobbiest?????

December 21 2013 at 8:05 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to k4jlp's comment
jdykbpl45

Obama lost the shovel! No gain, total pain, and all lies.

December 22 2013 at 2:55 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
fulredy

4.1 percent, bullshit!

December 21 2013 at 4:09 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
mrspelosi

Even I know this is a bunch of baloney darlings.

December 20 2013 at 10:41 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
Iselin007

How long before they make us pledge alliegence to the Global New World Order?

December 20 2013 at 10:24 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to Iselin007's comment
Robert Young

Cant wait for that. That's when we start shootin'!

December 21 2013 at 12:35 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
jdykbpl45

Obama and Moocha would be jealous.

December 22 2013 at 2:56 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
Iselin007

Thanks to technology you can change the numbers for your benefit.

December 20 2013 at 10:11 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
Iselin007

NJ lost 115,900 people from the labor force since January 2013 now they brag about the big drop in unemployment as if employers can't see the real picture. When the Holiday party is over there will be more workers headed out of the laborforce an the politicians will be congradulating themselves and giving each other raises.

December 20 2013 at 9:53 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Iselin007

The Civilian labor force is dropping in NJ but all this does is reduce the reported unemployment rate . It's the new scam just erase the people in the laborforce if you can't create jobs. Whats growing here not the GDP only the BS.

December 20 2013 at 9:38 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
Craigermt

Everything up, by government reports, and then the next month the "corrections" come out and they show lower than what the government reports reported. As soon as the monthly 85 billion bond buyout ends and interest rates start up we will see about a 3,000 point correction in the DOW. Maybe a better indication of how the economy is going might be to look at the donations the Salvation Army is getting this year in Billings, Montana, down 70%. Yep, down 70% and Billings is the bright spot in Montanas economy, unemployment 3.5% and no one doing really well.

December 20 2013 at 9:29 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Craigermt's comment
Iselin007

How about that! Yup the poverty rate is just as bad as before and the food pantries are just as in demand as ever. When all the temps for the holidays are let go they can just be erased from the labor force so the politicians can brag about the lousy job they did and feel good about it.

December 20 2013 at 9:42 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
Dallas

If everything is so great why is the government cutting veterans benefits. Hogwash. The stock market needs to be TAXED alot more.

December 20 2013 at 8:43 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Dallas's comment
Iselin007

They are cutting their benefits for the same reason they created the trade deals because they really don't give hoot.

December 20 2013 at 9:57 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
TINKDAY

along with the news on this great growth figure, you need to explain to the readers how the change in how they come up with the gdp numbers has effected the numbers. The bottom line, the government changed how they compute the gdp numbers and the new way makes the economy look alot better than it is, just like how they changed how they figure inflation and we know their inflation numbers are a lie, just like the cost of the bail out that is still going on and oh yes the crime rate and unemployment, all which are a lot worse than what the government reports.

December 20 2013 at 7:52 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to TINKDAY's comment
betty_brock

Liberal smoke and mirrors.

December 20 2013 at 8:30 PM Report abuse -2 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to betty_brock's comment
wclark3350

Or your fuzzy right-wing glasses. My 401k stock is at a record high.

December 20 2013 at 10:29 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down