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S&P climbs to record to recover from selloff as tech stocks surge

Benchmark equity indexes closed at records as a surge in technology shares helped U.S. stocks recover from a seven-day selloff in early December.

Facebook Inc. and Intel Corp. rose more than 1.9 percent to pace gains among technology shares. The Dow Jones Internet Index advanced 1.1 percent as Twitter Inc. and Amazon.com Inc. climbed at least 2.2 percent. The Nasdaq Biotechnology Index slumped 2.4 percent as Gilead Sciences Inc. sank 14 percent. Chevron Corp. lost 0.8 percent as energy companies slid.

The S&P 500 added 0.4 percent to 2,078.54, above its previous record close of 2,075.37 reached Dec. 5. The Dow Jones industrial average climbed 154.64 points, or 0.9 percent, to 17,959.44, also a closing record. The Russell 200 Index added 0.5 percent to the highest since July, while the Nasdaq Composite Index finished 10 points below a more than 14-year high.

“Once the trend got turned last week, given the time of the year, it became a perfect storm to the upside,” said Walter Todd, who oversees about $1 billion as chief investment officer for Greenwood, S.C.-based Greenwood Capital Associates. “Absent something from left field overseas or anything else unforeseen, stocks will continue to move higher and maybe approach that 2,100 level on the S&P by the end of the year.”

The S&P 500 completed the fifth recovery this year from a decline of 4 percent or more, just 17 days after it started. In comparable drops beginning in January, April, July and September, the S&P 500 needed about a month to erase losses, data compiled by Bloomberg show.

The S&P 500 has advanced in each of the past six Decembers, climbing an average 2.2 percent.

U.S. equities jumped 5 percent in the past three sessions as Fed Chair Janet Yellen said the central bank will likely hold key rates near zero at least through the first quarter, even as the U.S. economy strengthens.

A slide in oil prices and a worsening of the financial crisis in Russia rippled through financial markets earlier this month, wiping more than $1 trillion from U.S. equity values in less than two weeks. The S&P lost 5 percent in seven trading days through Dec. 16.

Equities rallied around the world after the central bank said it will be patient on the timing of a rate increase. Yellen said any spillover from the situation in Russia is likely to be small.

U.S. stocks have tripled during the 5ø-year bull market, driven by the Fed’s three rounds of bond buying and borrowing costs near zero to stimulate the economy.

Even as stocks rebounded, JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Bank of America Corp. have warned that equity volatility is picking up and upheavals will become more common next year.

Intel, Cisco Systems Inc. and IBM Corp. climbed more than 1.6 percent for the best performances in the Dow.

The Dow Jones Internet Composite Index rose for a fourth straight day, adding 1.1 percent, to its highest level since Sept. 12. The gauge is up 4.2 percent in 2014, climbing back after a slump of more than 19 percent earlier this year.