The Dow Jones Industrial Average ultimately encountered fading momentum in the back-half of this week, after initially looking as though it would easily notch its 20,000 milestone in the first half of the week.
Still, the Dow did manage to hold near all-time records and captured its seventh week of gains as a post-election bump continued to push the blue-chip index to records. The Dow ended Friday with weekly gains of 0.5%. The S&P 500 added 0.3% and the Nasdaq rose 0.5%.
Dow 20,000, which looked all but a certainty earlier in the week, grew more remote from Wednesday onward. At one point, the Dow moved within 15 points of the 20,000 milestone but hasn't been able to muster the momentum to move past the threshold. Dow 20,000 has been on watch since the index hit the 19,000 mark for the first time just a month ago on Nov. 22. The Dow first hit 10,000 in March 1999.
"With the DJIA flirting with the 20,000 level, we are reminded that millennium and century marks on major stock indices have traditionally acted like rusty doors, requiring several attempts before finally swinging open," said Sam Stovall, chief investment strategist at CFRA Research. "It should come as no surprise if stocks take a breather to digest recent gains."
The Dow has moved higher in response to optimism over President-elect Donald Trump's proposed spending plans. Trump's administration, viewed as friendly to Wall Street, has already backed deregulation, infrastructure spending and tax cuts.
Uncertainty reigned earlier in the week after separate terror attacks in Berlin and Turkey on Monday. The separate acts of terror escalated worries over terrorism worldwide, a concern President-elect Trump often flamed during his campaign.
Crude oil prices ended the week with gains of just 0.1%. Oil prices have bounced around as investors assessed how a production cut agreement among Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) might draw down on global supplies. OPEC's agreement is set to go into effect in January.
Signs of increasing production in the U.S. also put a dent in crude oil prices. The number of oil rigs drilling for crude rose by 13 to 523 in the past week, according to Baker Hughes data. Weekly data showed a surprise increase in domestic oil stockpiles, a worrying development in the face of an already-oversupplied global oil market.
The U.S. economy improved at a faster pace than expected in the third quarter. The third and final gross domestic product (GDP) estimate was revised to show growth of 3.5%, as consumer spending came in stronger than expected. Previous estimates had pegged third-quarter GDP at 3.2%.
Consumer sentiment in December increased to its best level in 12 years as Americans grew more confident in the strength of the U.S. economy. The University of Michigan's index increased to 98.2 in December in its final reading, up from a previous estimate that showed a reading of 98.
Durable goods orders fell back in November, reversing a sizeable gain seen in October. The metric, measuring orders for long-lasting goods in the U.S., fell by 4.6%. Analysts had anticipated a decline of 4%. Core capital goods orders increased 0.9% in November. The largest drag was nondefense aircraft orders.
Existing home sales in November in the U.S. hit a nearly nine-year high, the latest sign the housing market remains robust even as high prices and constrained supply temper demand. New home sales also surged in November .
In earnings news, Bed, Bath & Beyond (BBBY) - Get Report reported weaker quarterly earnings and issued a disappointing full-year guidance. Rite Aid (RAD) - Get Report , currently undergoing steps to merge with Walgreens (WBA) - Get Report , reported adjusted earnings half of what analysts expected.
Nike (NKE) - Get Report reported that futures orders, a closely watched metric of future performance, rose just 2%, more than half off of analysts' forecasts. Nike topped analysts' second-quarter estimates on its top- and bottom-lines. FedEx (FDX) - Get Report reported disappointing quarterly results and warned that aspects of President-elect Trump's trade proposals could hurt the company.