The S&P 500 closes at a new record high

The S&P 500 neared a new record high on Thursday.

The benchmark index rose slightly, 0.3% below its closing high in January 2022. The index has come a long way: It's up 34% from last year's lows, helped by a terrific rally this quarter.

Stocks for another Santa rally were also on the way. That's how they often enter the New Year. Analysts mostly see it as fun, with some saying it sets the tone for the year ahead.

Stock indices closed mixed. The S&P 500 rose, while the Dow posted its seventh record close this month. The Nasdaq slipped slightly. All three indices are poised for a ninth consecutive week of gains.

Oil prices have fallen Traders assessed the risks of shipping disruptions in the Red Sea. Brent crude fell 1.6% to trade below $79 a barrel.

Treasury yields roseThe yield on the 10-year note is 3.849%.

Bitcoin slipped away Below $43,000 but still close to its 2023 high.

Asian stock markets rallied after Beijing It seemed to ease the crackdown on video game producers. Hong Kong's Hang Seng rose 2.5% and the Shanghai Composite rose 1.4%. Internet giants Tencent And NetEase Each gained more than 2%.

Data Tracking: Initial jobless claims, a proxy for layoffs, rose 12,000 to a seasonally adjusted 218,000 in the week ended Dec. 23. That was slightly higher than the 215,000 economists had expected.

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