December 20, 2019 / 7:58 PM / a month ago

US STOCKS-S&P 500 hits high following trade progress, upbeat data

* Nike falls as North America revenue disappoints

* Carnival Corp gains

* Consumer spending rose 0.4% last month

* Indexes up: Dow 0.4%, S&P 0.5%, Nasdaq 0.4%

By Caroline Valetkevitch

NEW YORK, Dec 20 (Reuters) - The S&P 500 hit a record high for a seventh straight session on Friday, as continued optimism on resolving the U.S.-China trade war and strength in domestic consumer spending lifted sentiment.

President Donald Trump claimed progress on issues from trade to North Korea and Hong Kong after speaking with Chinese President Xi Jinping, dispelling fears of another escalation in the trade dispute.

"This time of year tends to be a tailwind for the market," said Walter Todd, chief investment officer at Greenwood Capital Associates in Greenwood, South Carolina, who helps manage about $950 million. "There's nothing obvious between now and the end of the year that would change the direction we're headed. So it's kind of a melt-up."

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 121.6 points, or 0.43%, to 28,498.56, the S&P 500 gained 16.33 points, or 0.51%, to 3,221.7 and the Nasdaq Composite added 36.41 points, or 0.41%, to 8,923.63.

Consumer spending, a key to U.S. economic growth and a major focus for investors, rose 0.4% in November, adding to a string of upbeat data that have helped put behind recession fears, which dogged markets earlier this year.

Nike Inc was down 1% after the world's largest sportswear maker reported lower-than-expected growth in revenue from North America.

Cruise operators were the top percentage gainers on the S&P 500, led by Carnival Corp which rose 7.1% after forecasting a 2020 profit largely above estimates.

U.S. Steel Corp tumbled 11.1% after the company said it expects a bigger-than-expected fourth-quarter loss.

Volume on U.S. exchanges so far was 4.80 billion shares.

"Quadruple witching," in which investors unwind positions in futures and options contracts before their expiration, may be helping to boost volume, Todd said.

Advancing issues outnumbered declining ones on the NYSE by a 1.60-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 1.19-to-1 ratio favored advancers.

The S&P 500 posted 73 new 52-week highs and no new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 155 new highs and 31 new lows.

Reporting by Caroline Valetkevitch in New York Additional reporting by Uday Sampath and C Nivedita in Bengaluru; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta and Leslie Adler

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