Dec. 20 - Summary: Wall Street closed out one of its best weeks of the year with a surge with the economy stronger than first thought; BlackBerry surges despite dismal quarter; Amazon jumps above $400; Oracle makes another step to the cloud. Conway G. Gittens reports.
Better than expected U.S. growth giving investors more hope that this economy is strong enough to withstand the wind-down of Federal Reserve stimulus. The Dow and the S&P 500 rallied to new lifetime highs and the Nasdaq closes at a 13-year peak. It was one of the year's best weekly gains for the Dow and the Nasdaq forged ahead by 2.6 percent. Gross domestic product, which measures the rate of economic activity, was revised to a 4.1 percent annual growth rate in the third quarter. That's the fastest pace in almost two years and higher than the 3.6 percent pace reported earlier this month. Business investment and consumer spending were stronger than previously thought. And Clark Winter of Winter Enterprises says the momentum is strong enough to extend into 2014. SOUNDBITE: CLARK WINTER, FOUNDER, WINTER ENTERPRISES (ENGLISH) SPEAKING: "Interest rates are likely to remain low for a long time because the Fed has no reason to raise them, and they still have tools at their command that they can use to further stimulate. I think what's happening is, people are eventually regaining confidence." That confidence - leading the S&P 500 to its best week in five months. BlackBerry reported a massive quarterly loss due to an inventory write-down caused by poor demand for its phones. But the company announced a deal that will limit manufacturing costs going forward. That news overshadowed the results sending the stock 15-1/2 percent higher in U.S. trade. It's just five days before Christmas and Amazon investors are getting an early gift. Shares of the Internet retailer topped $400 for the first time. Amazon is expected to be a winner as more customers shift to the web to do their holiday shopping. Red Hat was another hot tech stock - surging more than 14 percent after its results topped forecasts. In other earnings, Walgreens posted higher sales and profits despite a squeeze from deeper discounting. Shares climbed almost four percent. Oracle continues it buying spree - looking to the cloud. The software giant is buying advertising software maker Responsys for $1.5 billion. Responsys shares gained 40 percent on word of the deal, but Oracle was down for the day. In Europe, markets closed out their best week in eight months.