Stocks Book All-Time Highs on Final Day of Sparkling 2013

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- U.S. stocks booked gains on the final day of 2013, a year in which the S&P 500 soared 29.6%, the most since 1997.

The S&P 500 closed up 0.4% to 1,848.36. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.44%, to 16,576.66. The Nasdaq added 0.54% to 4,176.59. Following the S&P's record gains, the Dow surged 28.1% and the Nasdaq popped 41.1% in 2013.

The S&P Case-Shiller home price index showed home prices across 20 metropolitan U.S. areas in October rose 13.6% from a year earlier. Economists surveyed by Bloomberg were expecting a 13.5% rise. The Institute for Supply Management reported that its December business conditions index for the Chicago area hit 59.1, vs. a 60.8 forecast.

The Conference Board reported December consumer confidence surged to 78.1, up from a prior reading of 70.4. Economists predicted a rise to 76.0.

"That's a huge number," Darrell Cronk, regional chief investment officer for Wells Fargo Private Bank, said in a phone interview from New York. "It's a good way to close out the year."

The S&P 500 has risen 29% during 2013, and with light volumes expected to conclude the final trading day as most firms are squaring away their portfolios for the year.

In company news, Netflix  (NFLX) revealed late Monday in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission that CEO Reed Hastings received $5.3 million from selling stock right after Christmas. The company also announced its so-called poison pill -- a plan to make activist shareholder takeovers more expensive -- would end Tuesday, which was two years ahead of schedule. Shares added 0.32% to $368.17.

Hertz  (HTZ) popped after it adopted a one-year shareholder rights plan to prevent outside investors from gaining control of the car rental company. Shares surged 10.5% to $28.62.

Shares of Phillips 66  (PSX) rose after Berkshire Hathaway  (BRK.B) said it would swap $1.4 billion of shares in the energy company to fully acquire its pipeline services arm. Shares settled up 3.2% to $77.13.

-- Written by Joe Deaux in New York.

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