Stocks Closed Higher to Their Third Weekly Gain

Stocks closed higher to their third weekly gain on Friday after Congress approved a tax-cut extension and orders for durable goods in November climbed the most in four months. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 124.35 points, or 1.02%, to 12,294.00. It gained 3.6% for the week, the third up week in four. The S&P 500 rose 11.33 points, or 0.90%, to 1,265.33, up 3.7% for the week. The Nasdaq Composite added 19.19 points, or 0.74%, to 2,618.64, up 2.5% for the week.

Congress approved a two-month extension of a payroll-tax cut on Friday, giving lawmakers more time to work out a longer-term deal and helping consumers avoid a hit to the wallet next year. The bill also extends special federal unemployment-insurance benefits, and will avert a drop in payments to Medicare doctors.

Companies’ demand for long-lasting manufactured goods rose by the largest amount in four months in November, driven by a jump in orders for planes. The Commerce Department says orders to U.S. factories for durable goods rose 3.8 percent in November.

The European Central Bank held its bond purchases to a bare €19 million ($24.8 million) this week. It bought a minimal €3.36 million last week. That makes two weeks of near-negligible purchases, following €635 million the week ending Dec. 9 and €3.66 billion the week ending Dec. 2.

Oil prices rose above $100 a barrel Friday as worries over global security issues outweighed weak economic data in the U.S. Benchmark crude ended the day at $99.68 per barrel in New York, up 15 cents. It rose as high as $100.23 during the session. Brent crude finished 7 cents higher at $107.96 a barrel in London.

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