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Strong data pushes US stocks to new records

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange on April 10, 2013 in New York City
Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange on April 10, 2013 in New York City. US stocks resumed their upward push Friday with both the Dow and S&P 500 closing at new all-time highs following favorable US economic reports.

US stocks resumed their upward push Friday with both the Dow and S&P 500 closing at new all-time highs following favorable US economic reports.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average jumped 121.18 (0.80 percent) to 15,354.40.

The broad-based S&P 500 rose 15.65 (0.95 percent) to 1,666.12, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index added 33.72 (0.97 percent) to 3,498.96.

Friday's gains came on the heels of an 83.7 reading on the University of Michigan index of consumer sentiment, the highest number since 2007. Also, the Conference Board's index of leading US economic indicators jumped by 0.6 percent in April.

The consumer data "sparked the uptrend today," said Andrew Fitzpatrick, director of investment at Hinsdale Associates. "It seems that consumers are feeling better and that could lead to some higher economic growth."

Financial stocks were among the biggest winners, including JPMorgan Chase (+2.6 percent), Goldman Sachs (+2.4 percent) and Wells Fargo (+1.6 percent).

Among industrial blue chips, Boeing gained 2.4 percent and General Motors 3.2 percent.

Oil refiner Tesoro Corp. shot up 7.0 percent after winning US antitrust approval to acquire BP's Carson, California refinery for about $1.2 billion.

Defense and aerospace company Northrop Grumman rose 4.0 percent after announcing a $4 billion share repurchase plan that will retire 25 percent of the company's outstanding shares.

Department-store chain J.C. Penney sank 4.2 percent after reporting that first-quarter net losses more than doubled from a year ago, to $348 million.

The retailer recently rehired former chief executive Myron Ullman to try to lure back customers after a failed makeover attempt.

Industrial heavyweight Caterpillar picked up 1.0 percent after announcing an agreement to cut $135 million from the price of its acquisition of a Chinese mining equipment firm ERA Mining Machinery following allegations ERA inflated its financial results.

Bond prices fell. The yield on the 10-year US Treasury rose to 1.95 percent from 1.87 percent late Thursday, while the 30-year increased to 3.17 percent from 3.09 percent. Bond prices move inversely to yields.

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