Financial Markets Wall Street
Richard Drew/AP

NEW YORK — The Dow and S&P 500 finished at record highs Thursday as data showed further strength in the U.S. economy and Intel gave an upbeat forecast.

Tech shares gave the market its biggest lift, along with energy. Boosting all three major indexes, Intel shares jumped 4.7 percent to $35.95, hitting their highest level since January 2002, after its 2015 revenue outlook was above Wall Street’s expectations and the company raised its dividend.

The S&P technology index rose 0.6 percent, while the energy index gained 1.1 percent.

Further supporting stocks, data showed factory activity in the U.S. mid-Atlantic region grew at its fastest pace in two decades, U.S. home resales jumped to their highest in more than a year in October, and a gauge of future U.S. economic activity gained.

Growth in the economy and earnings should bode well for stocks heading into next year, said Margaret Patel, senior portfolio manager at Wells Capital Management.

“Next year will be a reasonable to maybe a surprisingly good year,” she said. “[There is] no reason in the world why we can’t see P/Es expand.” Patel said stocks could rise by a mid single-digit to high-teens percentage next year.

The Dow Jones industrial average (^DJI) rose 33.27 points, or 0.19 percent, to 17,719, a record close. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index (^GPSC) gained 4.03 points, or 0.2 percent, to 2,052.75, its 44th record high this year.

The Nasdaq composite (^IXIC) added 26.16 points, or 0.56 percent, to 4,701.87.

The Philadelphia Fed area “isn’t a hub of industrial activity anymore but it’s still important and it’s strong,” said Kim Forrest, senior equity research analyst at Fort Pitt Capital Group.

The upbeat U.S. data offset weakness overseas, including euro zone business growth that was slower than expected this month.

Best Buy (BBY) added 7 percent to $38.02, among the S&P’s largest percentage gainers, after better-than-expected profit.

Among the top Nasdaq decliners was Keurig Green Mountain (GMCR), down 7.4 percent at $142.50, a day after it forecast fiscal first-quarter profit below analyst estimates.

After the bell, Gap (GPS) shares fell 4.9 percent to $38.19 following its results. Gap shares ended the regular session up 1.5 percent.

About 5.7 billion shares traded on U.S. exchanges, compared below 6.4 billion average this month, according to BATS Global Markets.

NYSE advancing issues outnumbered decliners 2,013 to 1,025, for a 1.96-to-1 ratio; on the Nasdaq, 1,824 issues rose and 893 fell for a 2.04-to-1 ratio.


What to Watch Friday:

Ann Inc. (ANN) and Foot Locker (FL) are scheduled to release quarterly financial results before U.S. markets open.

Communication is key when it comes to any successful relationship, so if you’re not talking to your spouse, chances are there are some things that need to be addressed. Finances are a tough topic to tackle — especially due to the many emotions that rush to the surface when addressed. If money is a sensitive topic in your relationship, start small by getting some recurring money dates on the calendar and use an agenda for questions to ask of each other.
1. You don't communicate about your finances

If you’re hiding bills, expenses and credit card statements from your partner, that’s a telltale sign that there’s a deeper issue at play. There may be a sense of guilt around a recent purchase, or fear of a bad reaction, or you simply may be enabling your partner to continue to with a bad habit. Whatever it is, the best thing you can do is come together and clean the slate. As a partnership, you’re on your financial journey as a team. This isn’t a solo trip, and it means that balance must be struck between each of your wants, needs and goals.
2. You hide bills from your significant other

Goal setting may sound like a fluffy thing to do, but a couple who creates and shapes goals together can ensure they are using their money towards creating a life they love and value. If you haven’t done this with your partner yet, take some time separately to sit down and write down your individual goals. It could be debt pay down, building up the emergency fund, private school for the kids, making out your 401(k), launching your own business, taking that trip to Hawaii or more. Write down whatever comes to mind. Then come together for a conversation about merging and prioritizing. One you have your prioritized list, work as a team to begin tackling them one at a time.
3. You haven't set and prioritized joint goals

This is a surefire sign that you’re not budgeting and managing expenses as a couple. Nothing can dampen the flames in a relationship like the stress of playing catch-up at the end of each month. Or wondering if you’re going to be able to make it through the month. Once you establish joint goals and set up money dates, you’ll be able to start working as a team to hold each other accountable and track progress along the way. Whether you need to use the cash envelope system, cut up credit cards or work solely off of lists, do what needs to be done in your relationship to get the finances on track.
4. You have more month than money at the end of each month

When only one person takes control of the finances, this can enhance money stress in a relationship. One partner is left with the responsibility to balance and manage everything, while the other either chooses to sit out or ends up feeling like he or she is being "told what to do" or "left out of the loop." As much as you may want to hand over the financial reigns to just one partner in your relationship, the best course is to develop a plan where you both stay invested in the financial progress. Even if it’s from an accountability check-in standpoint. You should each know what’s going on with the money.
5. One is in the driver's seat, the other riding in the back

Each of us grew up in an environment that effects the way we look at, understand and feel about money. Whether your family struggled financially, your dad always handled the finances, you never wanted for anything, or you understood that credit cards are a way to bail you out of problems -– these are the issues that should be communicated with your spouse. The experiences you have in your money histories can and will seep into your money present if you don’t address some of the habits or beliefs you picked up over time.
6. You don't know each other's money histories

We all need some treats, but if you’re taking chunks of savings for large purchases for yourself when your family has consumer debt they should be tackling, an emergency fund that needs a cushion and a retirement account that hasn’t been looked at this year, then you likely need to reprioritize in order to get your family finances on track. If you’re not considering what’s best for your family and whether you’re actually in a position to make these purchases, go back to No. 1 and start with the communication step to ensure your relationship gets on the same page with money.
7. You consider your best interest for big purchases

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More from Mary Beth Storjohann:

Wall Street Rallies on Fed Rate Hike
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