Stocks Closed at Records on Bank Earnings, Economic Optimism

U.S. stocks closed at records on Friday as fourth-quarter earnings season kicked off with solid results from banks and robust retail sales drove investor optimism about economic growth. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 228.46 points, or 0.89%, to 25,803.19, climbing 2% for the week. The S&P 500 climbed 18.68 points, or 0.67%, to 2,786.24, for a weekly gain of 2%. The Nasdaq Composite added 49.28 points, or 0.68%, to 7,261.06, rising 1.7% for the week.

Oil prices ended Friday at a more than three-year high, up nearly 5% for the week as a spate of weekly declines in U.S. crude stockpiles helped prices log a fifth consecutive session of gains. February West Texas Intermediate crude tacked on 50 cents, or 0.8%, to settle at $64.30 a barrel. Brent crude for March added 61 cents, or 0.9%, to $69.87 a barrel.

Viacom and CBS vice-chairwoman Shari Redstone is pursuing a merger of the two media companies that split more than a decade ago, according to multiple insiders who spoke to TheWrap.

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