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Nation & World

US stocks push through latest record highs

NEW YORK (AP) — Investors stayed upbeat Friday, pushing U.S. stock indexes deeper into record territory.

Stocks climbed to all-time highs for the third straight day as investors assessed the prospect for further economic stimulus from the Federal Reserve.

Agilent Technologies, which makes scientific instruments, was the biggest gainer in the Standard & Poor’s 500 index after reporting earnings that exceeded analysts’ expectations. Exxon Mobil rose after billionaire Warren Buffett’s company disclosed late Thursday that it had taken a stake in the oil company.

The S&P 500 has advanced for six straight weeks, part of an impressive rise this year. The index is up 26.1 percent so far. If it ends 2013 with a gain that big it would be the best performance in a decade.

Several factors have been driving the market higher this year. The Federal Reserve has kept up its extraordinary efforts to stimulate the economy. And while the U.S. economy’s recovery has been plodding, it has been strong enough to enable corporations to keep increasing their profits.

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