Dow tops 18000, S&P 500 at record high, too – USA TODAY

Stocks are gaining Tuesday as the Dow and S&P 500 stretch further into record territory following news of 5% economic growth and the strongest consumer sentiment since 2007.

As of 12:01 p.m. ET, the Dow Jones industrial average and S&P 500 are up 0.4% and 0.2%, respectively. The Nasdaq composite is down 0.2%. The blue-chip Dow shot past the 18,000 milestone for the first time at the opening bell and is cruising higher.

Consumer spending is also strong, another economic report Tuesday morning shows. It was buoyed last month by rising wages and plunging gasoline prices.

Consumption increased 0.6% after rising 0.3% in October, which was revised upward from 0.2%, the Commerce Department said Tuesday. Economists expected a 0.5% increase.

The U.S. economy grew at its fastest pace since 2003 in the third quarter on stronger consumer and business spending.

Gross domestic product expanded at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5% in the three months ended Sept. 30, higher than the 3.9% previously estimated, the Commerce Department said Tuesday. The reading was the government’s third and final estimate.

The Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan consumer sentiment index for December rose to 93.6 from 88.8 in November, Bloomberg reports. That is the highest level since January 2007.

Real estate data provided a downer note to Tuesday’s economic news. Sales of new single-family homes fell 1.6% from October, the Commerce Department reports. That undershot forecasts of a small increase.

On Monday, the S&P 500 and the Dow hit new record closing highs.

The Dow Jones industrial average closed up 0.8% to 17,959.44, while the S&P 500 ended the day 0.3% higher to 2,078.54, a point or so above its record close of 2075.37 set Dec. 5.

Investment Roundtable takeaway: Bonds? “Diversify like crazy” in 2015

— USA TODAY Money (@USATODAYmoney) December 23, 2014

In Asia, the Shanghai composite was hammered, dropping 3%. The benchmark was dragged down by declines for major stocks including PetroChina and Industrial & Commercial Bank of China.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index ended down a slight 0.3%.

Japan’s stock market was closed for a public holiday – the Emperor’s Birthday – on Tuesday.

European stocks are rising.

Contributing: Jane Onyanga-Omara, The Associated Press.

“Sometimes the best decision is just making a decision,” says Kevin Plank, Under Armour CEO:

— USA TODAY Money (@USATODAYmoney) December 23, 2014

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