Dow Jones Hits Record High on 4.1% GDP Growth

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All investors want for Wall Street's slow upcoming Christmas week is the gift of big fat retails sales numbers and cheap coal prices. Check out what what sent the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES: ^DJI  )  up to more record highs on Christmas Week Eve.

1. Third-quarter GDP reading impressed big time
The final reading on America's third-quarter GDP (gross domestic product, the value of all the goods and services produced in the USA) was revised up aggressively on Friday from 3.6% growth to 4.1% growth -- that's the strongest annualized rate of growth since 2011. The government takes three readings of each quarter's GDP, and this third and final one shows that the U.S. economy has been picking up its game much faster than either New York football team. 

2. The Fed made some big stimulus decisions
Maybe your Paperless Post invite got lost in your inbox spam, but the Federal Reserve announced that it will taper (aka "cut") its popular "quantitative easing" stimulus policy. The Fed's been buying a hefty $85 billion a month in long-term bonds, which keeps interest rates low and encourages borrowing. The results have led to record-high stocks. But the heavy doses of positive econ news has convinced the Fed the economy's ready to get working on its own. In January, the Fed will purchase only $75 billion on bonds. The "taper" has begun, but investors are pumped that the Fed will keep chugging in $75 billion a month. 
 
3. Stock winners ...
Shares of Boeing (NYSE: BA  ) took off on word that the jet-maker is propelling its dividend up 50% to return more cash to shareholders. The legendary king of Scotch tape, 3M (NYSE: MMM  ) , did the same, boosting its dividend by 35%. Plus, controversial/sketchy nutritional supplement manufacturer Herbalife popped on news its financial statements were successfully reaudited with no major changes, after some powerhouse investors had claimed the company would never pass.

4. ... And stock losers
Some 70 million Facebook (NASDAQ: FB  ) shares got de-friended by hooded CEO Mark Zuckerberg, who announced he's selling $2.3 billion worth of his shares. Target took a hit after a major security breach of 40 million customers' credit card info was not taken lightly by Wall Street. Darden Restaurants fell as sales keep dropping at Olive Garden and the company plans to unload its Red Lobster chain next year like spoiled seafood. And Ford dropped on profit worries as the company begins to drive into increasing competition, especially from the Japanese automakers -- the keepers of the Camry.

What MarketSnacks is checking out this week:
  • Monday: Consumer sentiment survey
  • Tuesday: New home sales, stock market closes early for Christmas Eve
  • Wednesday: Stock market closed for Christmas
  • Thursday: Weekly jobless claims
  • Friday: Natural gas report

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