S&P/TSX composite hits record close, USA stock markets also higher

Wall Street stays near record high as Mnuchin says trade pact to be signed in January

Wall Street is seen outside New York Stock Exchange in New York City New YorkMore

In another positive economic report, US household spending rose in November, a sign that a key driver of the economy remained solid heading into the end of the year. China, however, has not confirmed any details of its plans for purchases of USA farm products.

The S&P 500 rose for a fourth straight week, gaining 1.7 per cent for the week, its biggest weekly gain since early September.

The Dow climbed 125 points Friday, with US stock indexes setting record highs again intraday, during a "quadruple-witching session" that will see the expiration of December stock options, along with stock index futures and options.

At 8:56 a.m. ET, Dow e-minis were up 39 points, or 0.14%. South Korea's Kospi and Hong Kong's Hang Seng both rose 0.3%.

Among the 11-major S&P 500 sectors, which are all in the positive territory in the early trade, the Healthcare Index leads the winners with a gain of 0.8%. The Russell 2000 index gained 4.17 points, or 0.3%, to 1,661.73.

On the data front, the pace of economic activity in the States picked up slightly in the third quarter, helped by a smaller drag from inventory building alongside stronger exports and residential fixed investment.

What are stock indexes doing?

Trading was listless most of the day in the absence of major new economic data and only a few corporate earnings reports for investors to mull over.

"Nothing gets people back in like a rising market", Mr. Slimmon said.

"The market is going to ignore impeachment in large part, it will pay attention to earnings, interest rates and the Fed", said Art Hogan, chief market strategist at National Securities. That's mostly because they see it as extremely unlikely that he or his market-friendly policies will leave office before the end of his term.

Information technology and materials were also among the gainers. "That just means that everybody has had an opinion, and whatever opinion that is it's been priced into the market". It's happened often enough that traders call it the "Santa rally", and it's brought an average gain of 1.3 percent for the S&P 500 since 1969, according to the Stock Trader's Almanac. It comes during a year-end holiday period where banks aim to shore up their capital to comply with regulatory requirements, which could conversely, deflate volumes over the last several days of the year. Brent crude oil, the worldwide standard, rose 7 cents to close at $66.17 a barrel.

The Canadian dollar traded for 75.96 cents USA, down from an average of 76.21 cents USA on Thursday. The euro was unchanged, at $1.1121.

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