Stocks close at record highs as US economy shows faster growth

Stocks climbed on Friday, with the Dow and S&P 500 hitting record highs, after data showed the U.S. economy growing faster than projected in the third quarter, increasing optimism about the economic outlook.

"No one is taking all the chips off the table with two weeks left," said Howard Silverblatt, senior index analyst at S&P Dow Jones Indices. Money managers in November could have easily closed out their year and had "a great December in Aruba and they didn't," he added.

"Short term, everybody is expecting more money to come back in," Silverblatt said of anticipated money flows into equities in December and in next year's first quarter.

On Friday, stocks drew an early lift from data that had the economy expanding at a more rapid pace than economists expected, with gross domestic product rising at a 4.1 percent annualized rate, up from a prior estimate of 3.6 percent.

"We're ending 2013 in a good place; the global economy appears to be in slow-growth mode as evidenced this morning in the U.S. with favorable GDP numbers," said Terry Sandven, chief equity strategist at U.S. Bank Wealth Management, of the Commerce Department report.

Taking out its prior intraday record set Thursday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose to a session high of 16,287.84. It ended the day unofficially 42 points ahead at a record close of 16,221.14.

The S&P 500 also climbed to an intraday record of 1,823.75, surpassing its previous record hit on Nov. 29, and closed at a record 1,818.31.

Technology paced gains among the 10 major S&P 500 sectors, with telecommunications the sole laggard.

The Nasdaq also c;losed 1.1 percent higher, tallying its 12th straight Friday gain and its longest Friday win streak in more than three years.

Red Hat jumped after the software company posted third-quarter earnings that topped Wall Street's estimates and hiked its full-year profit and sales outlook.

BlackBerry shares rose after the struggling smartphone posted a huge quarterly loss but said it had signed a five-year deal with Foxconn—the Taiwan-based manufacturer of Apple products—to help it develop consumer-focused smartphones for Indonesia and other markets.

On the New York Mercantile Exchange, crude futures for February delivery turned higher, up 28 cents, or 0.3 percent, to $99.32 a barrel. Gold futures for February delivery rose $10.10, or 0.9 percent, to $1,203.70 an ounce.

The dollar edged lower against other global currencies, while the 10-year Treasury note yield fell 4 basis points to 2.89 percent.

Friday's session marked the last trading day for stock options on indexes, equities and futures, with futures themselves also expiring. Added to the mix was the S&P 500's quarterly re-balancing, with had Facebook joining the S&P 500 after the close.

On Thursday, stocks finished little changed, but with the Dow rising to a record, as investors sorted through economic data following the Federal Reserve's decision to begin easing off its stimulus package of monthly bond purchases.

"We think 2014 will be a transition year. Returns in 2013 were largely driven not only by earnings but by Fed liquidity and P/E expansion," said Sandven, referring to the price-earnings ratio that by his calculation saw a 20 percent increase through 2013.

"We expect modest P/E expansion in the new year," Sandven added.