The stock market wrapped up its fourth winning week in a row with a little rally today that pushed the Dow Jones industrial average to within spitting distance of breaking even for the year and lifted other measures of the market to four-year highs..
Helped by low inflation, improving industrial production and falling oil prices, the Standard & Poor's 500 composite index advanced 5 points to 1,248.27 and the Nasdaq Stock Market composite index climbed 7 points to 2,227.07.
For both indexes today was the highest close since the summer of 2001.
The Dow advanced as well, but continued to lag behind other measures of the market. The blue chip index gained 46 points to 10,766.33. That left it just 17 points shy of where it began the year, but still 180 points below the high it reached in February.
For the week, the Dow was up 80 points, the S&P gained 14 and the Nasdaq composite advanced 25.
The lagging Dow demonstrated again why professional investors consider the S&P 500 a better gauge of market performance than the popular Dow.
The primary reason the Dow is not doing as well is General Motors, whose stock has fallen to its lowest level in almost 20 years. Investors fear GM could be pushed into bankruptcy by financial problems at Delphi, the parts-making company it spunoff, but for which it is still financially responsible.
Take out GM and the Dow would be keeping up with the S&P, which is up 3 percent since New Year's eve and the Nasdaq, which is ahead by 2.4 percent for the year.
Today's trading left market watchers talking confidently about the market rally running through the rest of the year.
Next week is expected to be quiet on Wall Street. No major economic reports or corporate earnings are scheduled to be released. And trading is expected to be light all week long because of Thanksgiving.