Stocks rise on hopeful signs for the US economy

NEW YORK (AP) — Encouraging news about the U.S. economy is extending the stock market's rally.

U.S. stock indexes rose for the fourth week in a row and are at record levels.

A gauge of future economic activity rose more than analysts had expected, as did a measure of consumer confidence.

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 121 points to close at 15,354 Friday, an increase of 0.8 percent.

The Standard & Poor's 500 climbed 15.65 points, or 1 percent, to 1,666.12.

The Nasdaq composite rose 33 points to 3,499, or 1 percent.

Defense contractor Northrop Grumman rose 4 percent after announcing a big stock buyback.

Two stocks rose for every one that fell on the New York Stock Exchange. Volume was lighter than usual at 3 billion shares.

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