Dec. 26 (UPI) — U.S. stocks surged higher Thursday as a year-end rally stoked by bullish economic news pushed the Nasdaq Composite index to 9,000 for the first time in its history.
The S&P 500 also posted a fresh all-time high at 3,235.46 in late morning trading while the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose about 77 points, reaching a peak of 28,596.22 before leveling off.
The rally has been gathering momentum as the year draws to a close and was pushed along Thursday on news that retail sales for the just concluded holiday season were 3.4 percent higher than 2018, including record online sales, which were up nearly 20 percent.
The late-year bull market has seen the S&P 500 rise by 2.9 percent in December and by 29 percent for the year, putting it on the verge of posting best annual performance since 1997.
Thursday’s market gains were paced by Amazon, which announced the 2019 holiday season was its best ever without offering specific numbers. Its stock price rose 3.1 percent, reaching a high of $1,850.18.
Other factors driving the rally included continuing low unemployment and the announcement of a “phase one” trade agreement between the United States and China.
A Chinese commerce ministry spokesman said Thursday both sides were in “close communication” over the signing of the deal. Negotiators agreed on the text of the phase one agreement on Dec. 13.