A slight gain was enough to push the stock market to a record high Friday.
Stocks climbed as a rebound in oil prices pushed energy stocks higher. A report showing faster-than-forecast growth in Europe at the end of last year also boosted investor sentiment.
Investors were also picking over the latest earnings news. CBS gained after strong advertising revenue boosted its earnings. VF Corp., a clothing company whose brands include Vans, Wrangler and Timberland, jumped after giving an upbeat outlook for the year.
Stocks have surged in February, rebounding from a January slump, as recovering oil prices boost energy stocks. Growing corporate earnings and the announcement of more stimulus from the European Central Bank to boost growth in the region have also helped turn around investor sentiment this month.
The Standard & Poor’s 500 rose 8.51, or 0.41 percent, to 2,096.99. That surpassed the previous record close of 2,090.57 set Dec. 29.
The Dow Jones industrial average rose 46.97, or 0.26 percent, to 18,019.35. The index is still 35 points short of its all-time high.
The Nasdaq composite rose 36.22, or 0.75 percent, to 4,893.84.
About three-quarters of the companies in the S&P 500 index have now reported results for the fourth quarter, and earnings for the period are projected to rise 7.5 percent. Though that is a decline from growth of 10.4 percent in the previous quarter, it’s better than analysts were expecting at the start of December.
On Friday, VF Corp., whose Lee Jeans subsidiary is based in Merriam, was one of the biggest gainers in the S&P 500. The company’s stock rose $4.26, or 6 percent, to $75.26 after it said it is expecting “meaningful growth” in all of its markets worldwide. That’s despite challenges it faces from a strengthening dollar.
Stocks in the U.S. again got a lift from developments in Europe.
Data showed the eurozone economy picked up speed in the fourth quarter thanks to better growth in Germany and Spain.
Greece and its creditors in the 19-country eurozone took visible, if modest, steps to bridge their differences over Athens’ demands to lighten the load of its financial bailout. Investors are hopeful that a deal will be reached to avoid Greece’s exit from the euro.