Stocks rise on Wall Street, indexes head for weekly gains

<p><p>Stocks rose in afternoon trading on Wall Street Thursday, putting the major indexes on track for weekly gains and driving the S&amp;P 500 toward a record high.</p></p><p><p>The S&amp;P 500 rose 0.7% as of 12:19 p.m. Eastern and is hovering above the record it set on Dec. 10. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 201 points, or 0.6%, to 35,956 and the Nasdaq rose 0.8%.</p></p><p><p>Roughly 85% of stocks within the benchmark S&amp;P 500 gained ground, led by technology companies and a wide range of retailers.</p></p><p><p>The index is on track for a 2.3% gain this week. U.S. markets will be closed Friday in observance of Christmas.</p></p><p><p>Cisco systems, which makes routers and other computer hardware, rose 1.2%. Chipmaker Micron Technology rose 4.8%.</p></p><p><p>Retailers and other companies that rely on consumer spending gained ground. Target rose 1.1% and Domino’s Pizza rose 2.3%.</p></p><p><p>Bond yields rose. The yield on the 10-year Treasury rose to 1.49% from 1.46% late Wednesday.</p></p><p><p>Safe-play sectors like real estate and utilities lagged the market.</p></p><p><p>European markets were higher, and Asian markets closed higher overnight.</p></p><p><p>Investors received several economic updates on Thursday before heading into a holiday break for markets.</p></p><p><p>The Commerce Department reported that U.S. <a href=”https://apnews.com/article/business-lifestyle-consumer-spending-holidays-prices-db34e6fa597fe8ec27fa46f0b1833a90″ target=”—blank”>consumer prices rose 5.7% in November versus a year earlier</a>, the fastest pace in 39 years, as a surge in inflation confronts Americans with the holiday shopping season under way.</p></p><p><p>Businesses have been dealing with supply chain problems and higher raw materials costs, and in turn passing those costs off to consumers.</p></p><p><p>The higher prices have raised concern that consumer spending, which accounts for 70% of U.S. economic activity, could soften and hurt economic growth.</p></p><p><p>The latest report shows that spending rose 0.6%, well below the 1.4% surge in October.</p></p><p><p>The housing market remains strong, according to the National Association of Realtors. <a href=”https://apnews.com/article/business-home-sales-mortgages-mortgage-rates-3cbc3269e5426dd8e82a5e9922292fee” target=”—blank”>Sales of new single-family homes rose 12.4% in November</a>, the fastest pace in seven months.</p></p><p><p>The Labor Department reported that the <a href=”https://apnews.com/article/coronavirus-pandemic-business-health-jobless-claims-e922cc0250105a999f365a0c2dbf15db” target=”—blank”>number of Americans applying for unemployment benefits was unchanged last week</a>, remaining at a historically low level that reflects the job market’s strong recovery from the coronavirus recession last year.</p></p><p><p>The latest data on prices and jobs comes as investors continue gauging the potential impact from the latest surge in coronavirus cases because of the omicron variant.</p></p><p><p>Governments in Asia and Europe have tightened travel controls or pushed back plans to relax curbs already in place.</p></p>