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Stocks close higher in light trading; new high for Dow

A logo for the New York Stock Exchange

A logo for the New York Stock Exchange is displayed above the trading floor, Wednesday, Dec. 27, 2017. Photo Credit: AP / Mark Lennihan

Stock indexes wrung out a modest gain during another quiet session on Wall Street Thursday, nudging the Dow Jones industrial average to a new high ahead of the final trading day of 2017.

Financial stocks accounted for much of the market’s gains. The sector benefited from rising bond yields, which help banks because it enables them to charge higher interest rates on loans.

Some energy stocks got a boost from natural gas prices, which jumped nearly 7 percent as temperatures dropped across much of the U.S. Crude oil prices also closed higher.

Consumer-goods makers lagged the broad rally, which gave the market its second higher finish in a row. The stock market seldom declines this time of year, noted John Serrapere, director of research at Arrow Funds.

“It’s a light, light, light calendar,” Serrapere said. “Normally between Christmas and New Year’s you get a positive, muted upslope in the markets.”

The Standard & Poor’s 500 index rose 4.92 points, or 0.2 percent, to 2,687.54. The Dow gained 63.21 points, or 0.3 percent, to 24,837.51. The 30-company average has closed at a record high 71 times this year.

The Nasdaq added 10.82 points, or 0.2 percent, to 6,950.16.

The S&P 500 and Nasdaq, meanwhile, are hovering just below their all-time highs. All the indexes are on track to end the 2017 with double-digit gains.

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