Stocks closed modestly higher amid quiet trading Wednesday, but still gathered enough momentum to hit news levels as the S&P 500 beat a September 2008 high not seen since Lehman Brothers filed for bankruptcy.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 26.33 points, or 0.23 percent, to close at 11,559.49, it's highest closing level since Aug. 28, 2008.
Bank of America, JPMorgan and General Electric rose, while Hewlett-Packard and Intel fell.
The S&P 500 rose 4.24 points, or 0.34 percent, to close at 1,258.84, its highest close since Sept. 08, 2008, the Monday after Lehman Brothers went bankrupt.
The tech-heavy Nasdaq rose 3.87 points, or 0.2 percent, to close at 2,671.48, its highest close since Dec. 28, 2007.
The CBOE Volatility Index, widely considered the best gauge of fear in the market, fell below 16, hitting multi-year lows.
Among key S&P sectors, financials, utilities and consumer staples rose, while materials and technology declined.
The market was ending the year on an upbeat note. The Dow was has risen about 5 percent for December and 10.85 percent for the year-to-date. For the month, the S&P 500 rose 6.63 percent, while it rose 12.89 percent for the year-to-date. The Nasdaq rose 6.93 percent for December, and 17.73 percent for the year-to-date.
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