NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- The S&P 500 drifted to all-time intraday highs on Friday in a quiet low-volume day of trading. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was enjoying its seventh straight day in the green, its longest streak since March 2013, and the Russell 2000 rocketed to an all-time high as stocks charged to new records in the final session of a holiday-shortened week.
The S&P 500 added 0.49%, the Dow climbed 0.30%, and the Nasdaq jumped 0.83%. The Russell 2000 gained 0.8% as small caps rallied. By midday, 138 million shares had been traded on the New York Stock Exchange, around half the average volume seen over the week's previous trading sessions.
Benchmark indexes look to close their second straight week of gains. Investor confidence has been high since Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen and colleagues promised to be "patient" in raising rates over 2015. Over the past seven sessions, the S&P 500 has surged 6% and the Dow has climbed 5.9%.
Japan's Nikkei held up under pressure after core consumer inflation slowed to 0.7% in November, a factor of plummeting oil prices. The Bank of Japan has a target of 2%. The Nikkei closed 0.06% higher.
Chinese stocks rallied nearly 3% after the country's central bank detailed new steps to increase banks' lending capabilities. Hopes are high that the central bank will also introduce stimulus measures in the coming months to address slowing economic growth.
Qualcomm (QCOM) - Get Report shares were up 1.3% after Chinese regulators said a months-long investigation into the company would be completed soon. Officials accused the chipmaker of abusing its monopoly by overcharging.
Trading of Sony (SNE) - Get Report was quiet after the studio released controversial film 'The Interview' to 300 independent theaters over Christmas without incident. However, hackers did target Sony's PlayStation networks and Microsoft's (MSFT) - Get Report Xbox over the holiday, disrupting normal operations for much of the day.
--Written by Keris Alison Lahiff in New York.