Stocks Finish at Record Highs as Wall Street Ends a Strong Week

Stocks finish at record highs as Wall Street closes out a strong week.
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  1. Stocks finished at record highs as Wall Street closed out a strong week amid solid earnings and the signing of the preliminary trade deal between the U.S. and China.
  2. Housing starts in December rose 16.9% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.608 million units, the highest level since December 2006. 
  3. Microsoft is Real Money's Stock of the Day. The tech giant pledged to erase nearly five decades of carbon emissions with the help of a $1 billion "Climate Innovation Fund."

Stocks finished at record highs Friday and Wall Street closed out a strong week amid solid earnings and the signing of the preliminary trade deal between the U.S. and China.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished up 50.46 points, or 0.17%, to 29,348.10, the S&P 500 rose 0.39% to 3,329.44, and the Nasdaq gained 0.34% to 9,388.94. The three indexes also set record intraday highs.

For the week, the Dow rose 1.8%, the S&P 500 finished up nearly 2%, and the Nasdaq gained 2.3%.

Stocks got a boost Friday from a government report that showed housing starts soared in December.

Equities also rose on data that fourth-quarter GDP in China held steady at 6%, and data for December on industrial output, retail sales and government investment all surprised to the upside. 

Schlumberger (SLB) - Get Report posted stronger-than-expected fourth-quarter earnings as profit margins improved but held its 2020 capex plans steady as the oil services company's biggest customers continue to trim drilling investments.

Boeing BA is facing a new software issue in its troubled 737 MAX that the planemaker discovered during a technical review of its updated system. Boeing was the Dow's worst performer.

Microsoft (MSFT) - Get Report is Real Money's Stock of the Day. The tech giant pledged to erase nearly five decades of carbon emissions with the help of a $1 billion "Climate Innovation Fund."

International Business Machines (IBM) - Get Report ended flat, taking a second hit this week after receiving another analyst downgrade ahead of its quarterly earnings. Morgan Stanley analyst Katy Huberty downgraded the stock to equal weight from overweight amid concerns over IT spending and margins in 2020.

Dave & Buster's (PLAY) - Get Report was higher after KKR disclosed a 6.3% stake in the company and said it would be continuing discussions with management about its business plans.

Gap (GPS) - Get Report slipped despite saying it was no longer pursuing a spinoff of its Old Navy business and estimating that earnings would come in ahead of previous guidance.

Housing starts in December rose 16.9% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.608 million units, the highest level since December 2006. 

"This read blows expectations out of the water, but what’s more is it’s the best number we’ve seen in the past 10 years," said Mike Loewengart, vice president of strategy at E*Trade.

"Housing is one of the most critical metrics to gauge the health of the U.S. economy, and combine this with the low interest rate environment and the future looks like it will continue to shine bright for home buyers. Taking this in aggregate with the other fundamental reads we’ve seen this week, it’s hard to argue that this expansionary phase can’t keep going," he added. 

Consumer sentiment in January slipped to 99.1 from a seven-month high of 99.3 in December, according to the University of Michigan's preliminary sentiment index.

Schlumberger and Microsoft are holdings in Jim Cramer's Action Alerts PLUS member club. Want to be alerted before Jim Cramer buys or sells the stocks? Learn more now.