The stock market kept moving forward today as oil prices pulled back and the latest reports showed the U. S. economy is growing at a health rate.
The Standard & Poor's 500 stock index advanced for the sixth day in a row, the Nasdaq Stock Market composite index climbed for the fifth straight session and the Dow Jones industrial average came within 5 points of scoring its second triple digit gain of the week.
Up more than 100 points during the day, the Dow closed with a gain of more than 95 at 10,205.20. The Nasdaq Composite was up 8 at 1,984.50. The S&P 500 picked up 6, closing at 1,121.28.
At this point the indexes are all on their way to a winning week, but Wall Street is braced for some selling tomorrow, before the markets close early -- at 1 p.m. -- for the Memorial Day weekend. Looking forward to almost three-and-a-half days without any chance to change their bets, traders are expected pull out of some positions.
The markets lately have been very vulnerable to external events -- particularly terrorist threats. Because so many things can happen over such a long weekend, traders are expected to minimize their risks by doing some selling.
In today's trading, crude oil dropped back below $40 a barrel in both the New York and London markets after officials of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries talked about increasing output by as much as 10 percent in an effort to hold down costs.
New applications for unemployment benefits fell last week, showing the job market is slowly getting better, the Labor Department reported.
The final report on economic growth showed the nation's gross domestic product grew by 4.4 percent in the first quarter of the year, which was slightly faster than the 4.2 percent shown in a preliminary report.
Retail stocks helped buoy the market with a batch of health profit reports from retailers catering to bargain hunters. Profits were up at the Costco warehouse stores, the Michael's crafts shops and the nation's two biggest chains of "dollar stores," Dollar General and Dollar Tree.