Ben Mitchell and Kim Hjelmgaard, USA TODAY
Stocks defied skeptics again Friday, attracting attention from even the most hardened market-watchers. The Dow Jones industrial average and the Standard & Poor's 500 index closed at record highs.
The Dow gained 121.18 points, 0.8%, to 15,354.40. The S&P 500 ended up 15.65 points, 1%, to 1,666.12. And the Nasdaq composite index rose 33.72 points, 1%, to 3,498.97. It was the fourth straight week of gains for the indexes.
They were joined by the Russell 2000 small-cap index, reflecting the breadth of the indexes' 17% runup so far this year. The index closed up 10.94 points, 1.1%, to 996.28.
Investors' bullishness was fueled Friday by two economic reports, one showing consumer confidence in May surged to the highest levels since 2007 and one reflecting a jump in the leading indicators index, a proxy of the economy's future health, in March, buoyed by a sharp rise in applications to build homes and apartments.
The yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note jumped to 1.95%, up from an intraday low of 1.86% Thursday. The price, which moves inversely to the yield, plunged -- reflecting investors fleeing the safety of bonds.
The price of gold, an inflation hedge, fell 5% for the week, finishing Friday down 2.2% to $1,357 per ounce.
The Dow on Thursday fell to 15,233.22, a loss of 0.3%. The S&P 500 dropped 0.5% to 1,650.47. The Nasdaq composite index fell 0.2% to 3,465.24.
Applications for unemployment benefits jumped to their highest level in six weeks, the U.S. Labor Department reported Thursday, while manufacturing slowed in the mid-Atlantic region.
In Asia trading Friday, Japan's Nikkei 225 index closed up 0.7% to 15,138.12. In Europe, benchmark indexes in Britain, France and Germany closed about 0.5% higher.
Benchmark oil for June delivery was up about 85 cents to $96 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract rose 86 cents to $95.16 per barrel on the Nymex on Thursday.
USA TODAY/Associated Press Contributing