Belfast Telegraph

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US stock indexes rise as car makers and retailers prosper

US stocks have climbed as investors bought shares of companies focused on consumers, including car makers and retailers.

The Standard & Poor's 500 index finished a single point below its all-time high.

General Motors and Ford jumped as car companies reported generally strong sales for the month of December.

Companies that mine for metals and make chemicals and other materials rose as the dollar receded from its recent highs.

Small company stocks picked up where they left off in 2017 as the Russell 2000 index outpaced other major indexes and missed a record close by a whisker.

Investors snapped up consumer-focused stocks that have not done much celebrating since the election, like apparel and accessories retailers and discount store chains.

Urban Outfitters is down about 11% since the election and Gap has fallen almost that much.

"They were after-thoughts in a lot of respects," said Julian Emanuel, an equity strategist for UBS. But he said he expects those stocks to rise this year because consumer confidence remains high.

The Dow Jones industrial average added 60.40 points, or 0.3%, to 19,942.16. The blue-chip index was held back by small losses from energy giant Exxon Mobil and insurer Travelers.

The S&P 500 jumped 12.92 points, or 0.6%, to 2,270.75. The Nasdaq composite rose 47.92 points, or 0.9%, to 5,477. The Russell 2000 outpaced the other indexes and advanced 22.46 points, or 1.6%, to 1,387.95.

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