NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Stocks were enjoying slight gains in a holiday-shortened Christmas Eve session Wednesday after bouncing to record highs a day earlier.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed above 18,000 for the first time and the S&P 500 scored a new record high on Tuesday after third-quarter GDP was revised upwards to 5%, its fastest pace in 11 years.
The S&P 500 added 0.19% on Wednesday, the Dow gained 0.27% and the Nasdaq climbed 0.42%. Over the past five days, the S&P 500 has jumped more than 5% to new highs, a rally fueled by the Federal Reserve's promise to be "patient" in raising rates next year.
Weekly jobless claims slid for the fourth straight week, an indication of the steady improvement in the job market. The number of new claims for unemployment benefits slid 9,000 to 280,000. Economists had expected 290,000 claims after a reading of 289,000 a week earlier.
Crude oil prices were giving back some of Tuesday's gains. West Texas Intermediate crude was down 2.6% to $55.65, while major oilers Exxon Mobil (XOM) and Chevron (CVX) were lower and the Energy Select SPDR ETF (XLE) dropped 1.6%. Crude prices had seen a brief rebound on Tuesday after Arab OPEC producers said they expect global oil to rebound to between $70 and $80 a barrel by end-2015.