Stocks flirted near record highs, supported by strong economic data and a bounce in oil prices. The S&P 500 notching its fourth straight weekly gain. Jeanne Yurman reports.
Stocks flirted near record highs, supported by strong economic data and a bounce in oil prices. That was enough for the S&P 500 to notch its fourth straight weekly gain. A mixed finish for the day. The Dow edged down fractionally while the Nasdaq and the S&P 500 tacked on small gains. Like the S&P, the Dow and the Nasdaq finished the week in the plus column, helped by shares of Apple, which closed at record a record high. Consumer spirits were high this month helped by lower gas prices. The Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan consumer sentiment index rose to its highest level in six years. And retail sales rose more than expected last month. BB&T senior retail analyst Anthony Chukumba says that retail number is encouraging, SOUNDBITE: ANTHONY CHUKUMBA, SENIOR RESEARCH ANALYST, BB&T CAPITAL MARKETS (ENGLISH) SAYING: "It gives me a lot more confidence going into the holiday selling season. The macroeconomic environment is getting better. Employment is getting better. Gas prices are down. Consumer confidence is rising, and so people are opening up their wallets. And I think, like I said, that bodes very well for the upcoming holiday season." Amid mixed results from retailers, Nordstrom's quarterly profit and sales rose. So did its stock as a number of analysts hiked their price targets on the upscale department store chain. Shares of Virgin America skyrocketed on their debut. It's the first U.S. airline to go public in three years. U.S. airline stocks are up more than 40 percent since mid-October, fueled by falling oil prices and increased spending on travel. Movado's shares nose-dived. The luxury watch designer cut its full-year forecasts after experiencing slower sales due to weakness in the U.S. and Europe. And accounting errors are forcing Hertz Global to restate its results for the last two years. That dented its stock. BlackBerry gave up much of Thursday's gains, when it announced partnerships with Samsung and others over its security platform. In Europe, oil stocks fell, and equities overall ended just slightly lower.