Business, Finance & Economics

S&P 500 index closes at highest level since 2008


A trader applauds while working on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange on Feb. 21, 2012, when the Dow Jones Industrial Average broke through the 13,000 barrier.


John Moore

The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index closed today at its highest level since June 2008, Bloomberg News reported.

The S&P rose 0.3 percent over the week to close at 1,365.74, according to the Financial Times. The Dow Jones Industrial Average also gained 0.3 percent over the week, to end at 12,982.95. The Dow rose above 13,000 for the first time since 2008 this week. The Nasdaq Composite increased 0.4 percent to 2,963.75.

More from GlobalPost: Dow breaks 13,000 for first time since 2008, then retreats

“You’re seeing a whiz of optimism mainly because of a lack of negative news out of Europe and moderate growth in the US,” Matt McCormick from Bahl & Gaynor Inc. in Cincinnati, told Bloomberg News. “This trend will continue until either of these two variables change.”

Consumer sentiment, as measured by the Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan index, increased to 75.3, better than the 73 expected by economists surveyed by Dow Jones Newswires, the Wall Street Journal reported. Applications for unemployment benefits stayed at their lowest level since 2008, according to Bloomberg News. And home sales also beat economists’ expectations.

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Europe and Asia liked what they were hearing, too. The Stoxx Europe 600 gained 0.3 percent today, the Wall Street Journal reported. Japan's Nikkei Stock Average increased 0.5 percent to a 6½-month high, while China's Shanghai Composite grew 1.3 percent to close at a three-month high.