S&P at 5-year high, nears record close
The Standard & Poor's 500 closed at another five-year high Thursday after the market got a boost from reports suggesting the outlook for economic growth may be improving.
The S&P rose 0.76 percent to 1,472.12, its highest close since December 2007. It also closed at a five-year high on Friday and is now 93 points off its record close of 1,565.15 in October 2007.
The Dow Jones industrial average closed up 80.71 points at 13,471.22. The Nasdaq composite rose 0.51 percent to 3,121.76.
European Central Bank president Mario Draghi said the struggling eurozone should start growing again later this year, but he warned that the region has yet to reach a turning point in its struggle with recession and handling its government debt load. The comments bolstered expectations that the worst of the region's crisis may be behind it.
Investors were also cheered by a report that showed China may gradually be emerging from its worst economic downturn since the 2008 global crisis. Export growth for the world's second-largest economy rebounded strongly in December.
Ford was among the gainers, rising 36 cents, or 2.67 percent, to $13.83 after the company doubled its quarterly dividend to 10 cents, just nine months after paying its first dividend in more than five years.