NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- The Santa Claus rally continued for its fifth straight session on Tuesday as the Dow Jones Industrial Average broke through 18,000 and the S&P 500 notched a new record close after third-quarter GDP showed signs of better-than-expected economic health.
The S&P 500 added 0.18% on Tuesday and the Dow climbed 0.38% to 18,027.
"18,000 is just kind of a nice, round number but realistically it doesn't really mean a whole lot," said Hennessy Funds' Brian Peery of the Dow's new high. "We certainly think over the long haul that the market is heading higher."
A new estimate of third-quarter GDP came in at 5%, its highest in 11 years. The previous estimate had put GDP at 3.9% and economists had expected an upward revision to 4.3%.
"It is indeed great news that the economy put in such solid, robust growth in the third quarter," said Andrew Wilkinson, chief market analyst at Interactive Brokers, in a report. "It is in keeping with the picture the [Federal Reserve] has been trying to paint, which leaves them wanting to move out of the basement in terms of a near-zero interest rate setting."
Consumer sentiment surged to 93.8 in the first two weeks of December, according to the Reuters/University of Michigan Sentiment Index. Cheaper gasoline prices have helped to fuel discretionary spending in other parts of the consumer economy. Economists had expected a reading of 93.
It wasn't all peaches for markets, though, as the Nasdaq was pulled 0.33% lower by a selloff among pharmaceutical and biotech stocks. Gilead Sciences (GILD) , Regeneron Pharmaceuticals (REGN) and Achillion Pharmaceuticals (ACHN) were all trading lower after Express Scripts (ESRX) announced an exclusive deal to cover only AbbVie's (ABBV) newly approved hepatitis C treatment. The Health Care SPDR ETF (XLV) slid 2.3%.
Oil prices continued to yo-yo with West Texas Intermediate crude adding 3.6% to $57.24 a barrel. Arab OPEC producers said they expect global oil to rebound to between $70 and $80 a barrel by end-2015 as demand picks up in line with a global economic recovery.
The commodity rally pushed energy stocks higher with large-caps Exxon Mobil (XOM) , Chevron Corporation (CVX) and Phillips 66 (PSX) each posting gains of more than 1%. The Energy Select Sector SPDR ETF (XLE) spiked 1.3%.
Ocwen Financial (OCN) continued to tumble after Tuesday's announcement the company had reached a settlement with the New York Department of Financial Services that stipulated that founder William Erbey will resign. The company had been under investigation for mishandling foreclosures. Since Monday, shares have dropped more than 31%.
Hertz (HTZ) jumped 8.2% after raising car rental prices. The hike will go into effect on Jan. 1. The firm said the increase in base prices was due to escalating costs related to the entire fleet.
Walgreen (WAG) shares jumped 3% after fiscal first-quarter profit beat estimates and pharmacy sales gained 9%. Keurig (GMCR) shares were tumbling 2% after the company recalled 6.6 million of its coffee makers.
NQ Mobile (NQ) spiked 34% after announcing a buyback program worth $80 million. The 12-month program can repurchase one-quarter of outstanding shares at current levels.
Chesapeake Energy (CHK) jumped more than 10% after closing the sale of a bundle of properties to Southwestern Energy (SWN) for just under $5 billion. The company's board separately authorized a $1 billion stock buyback program.
--Written by Keris Alison Lahiff in New York.