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Stocks climb as S&P 500 closes in on 10th winning week in 11

NEW YORK — U.S. stock indexes pushed higher again on Friday, and the S&P 500 was on track to close out its 10th winning week in the last 11.

Trading could be lumpy Friday, with contracts set to expire for futures and options on indexes and stocks in what’s known as a “quadruple witching day.” But momentum for stocks has been clearly upward for months, and the market is heading into what’s historically been a seasonally good period.

Rising optimism around a “Phase 1” trade deal announced a week ago between the United States and China has helped push stock indexes to records. Fears about a possible recession have also faded since the summer after the Federal Reserve cut interest rates three times, and the central bank appears set to keep them low for a long time.

More data arrived on Friday showing U.S. households continue to spend amid a healthy job market. That is making up for hesitance by businesses to spend, and it’s helping to keep the economy growing at a moderate pace.

The S&P 500 is on pace for its best week in more than three months. Treasury yields edged higher, while crude oil and gold prices dipped.

KEEPING SCORE: The S&P 500 was up 0.5% as of 11 a.m. Eastern time, and the gains were broad. Roughly two stocks rose for every one that fell on the New York Stock Exchange.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed 98 points, or 0.3%, to 27,475, and the Nasdaq composite added 0.3%.

ECONOMIC SIGNS: Spending by U.S. households has been the main pillar for the economy recently, even as CEOs turned cautious amid all the uncertainty created by President Donald Trump’s trade wars. Consumer spending rose 0.4% last month from October, the strongest growth in four months, according to the latest data from the Commerce Department. The increase in spending came as incomes rose 0.5% from a month earlier.

A separate report confirmed the economy grew at a moderate annual rate of 2.1% in the third quarter. Much of the growth from that July-through-September quarter came from stronger consumer spending.

SANTA CALLING: Stocks have traditionally climbed in the last five days of each calendar year, plus the first two of the new year. It’s happened often enough that traders call it the “Santa rally”, and it’s brought an average gain of 1.3% for the S&P 500 since 1969, according to the Stock Trader’s Almanac.

Over the last 50 years, stocks have climbed in the seven-day stretch roughly three quarters of the time.

MARKETS ABROAD: European stocks were mostly higher. France’s CAC 40 index rose 0.7% and Germany’s DAX climbed 0.7%. The FTSE 100 in London was virtually flat.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 slipped 0.2%. South Korea’s Kospi and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng both rose 0.3%.

YIELDS: The 10-year Treasury yield rose to 1.9 2 % from 1.91% late Thursday. The two-year yield climbed to 1.6 1 % from 1.60%, and the 30-year yield rose to 2.3 5 % from 2.34%.

GOOD VOYAGE: Carnival jumped 8.5 % for the biggest gain in the S&P 500 after it reported stronger earnings for the latest quarter than analysts expected. The cruise ship operator also gave a profit forecast for the upcoming quarter that topped analysts’ forecasts.

CLUNKER: CarMax dropped 5.2 % for one of the largest losses in the S&P 500 after it reported weaker earnings for the latest quarter than analysts expected.

COMMODITIES: Benchmark U.S. crude oil slipped 84 cents to $60.34 per barrel. Brent crude, the international standard, fell 46 cents to $66.08 per barrel.

Gold dipped 40 cents to $1,484.00 per ounce.

Stan Choe, The Associated Press