Stocks Hit New Highs on Data, M&A

Investors bought on jobs, manufacturing, and consumer confidence numbers, though inflation concerns linger

Stock markets hit new historic highs on Friday, driven by a flurry of encouraging economic data that showed signs of a solid economic rebound in the second half of the year. Gains by leading retailer Wal-Mart pushed the Dow Jones industrial average to a new record high while further M&A activity and positive earnings reports helped the broader S&P 500 Index set a new record for a third consecutive day.

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