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Dow Squeaks Higher as 'Santa Rally' Continues

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The 'Santa Rally' lives on...barely. The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed slightly higher Wednesday, extending to a sixth day a rally that saw the index rise above 18,000 for the first time.

The Dow closed up 6.29 points, or 0.03 percent, at 18,030.46, giving up most of its earlier gains late in the session. The benchmark S&P 500 ended 0.1 percent lower. Rebounding from Tuesday's decline, the Nasdaq gained 0.17 percent.

Trading was thin. Stock markets closed early and are shut for Christmas Day Thursday. Investors had just one piece of major economic data to ponder: jobless claims fell for the fourth straight week, the Labor Department reported. It was another signal of the economy's enduring strength a day after the government posted a revised third-quarter economic growth rate of 5.0 percent, the fastest in over a decade.

IN-DEPTH

-- NBC News Staff

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