Dec 25, 2014 5:59 PM

Investors get a nice Christmas present from record stock market close

As the stock market takes a breather for the Christmas holiday, it's left investors a sweet Christmas present under the tree. The Dow is at its highest level for the year. In fact, it's at its highest level ever.

The holiday shortened session on Christmas Eve saw a sixth straight gain for the Dow Jones Industrial Average closing at 18,030. It was only the second day ever the Dow made it over the 18,000 mark.

Why the unprecedented numbers. One strategist says investors are still giddy over Tuesday's report estimating that the economy grew in the third quarter of the year at its fastest pace in 11 year - the gross domestic product growing at a seasonally adjusted 5%.

The latest jobless claims numbers also good for the economy. There were 9,000 fewer applications for jobless benefits last week, and claims plunged 16% in the past year.

Oil prices are a major focus in the markets. They've fallen by about a half since the summer. The price of benchmark U.S. crude oil, closing at $55.84 a barrel in New York. The reason for those lower prices we're enjoying at the gas pump and lower oil heating bills. According to the U.S. energy information administration, here in New England heating bills will be trimmed by about $360 on average this winter.

The NASDAQ Composite closed Wednesday up eight points to 4,773. The S&P 500 index slipped a fraction of a point closing at 2,081.


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