* Russell 2000 hits record intraday high
* ECB extends stimulus program period, tapers asset buys
* Goldman Sachs boosts Dow, Apple pulls S&P higher
* Weekly jobless claims drop by 10,000 to 258,000 - report
* Indexes up: Dow 0.45 pct, S&P 0.3 pct, Nasdaq 0.53 pct
(Updates to early afternoon)
By Yashaswini Swamynathan
Dec 8 A month-long rally on Wall Street, sparked
by Donald Trump's election as U.S. president, extended on
Thursday, driving major Wall Street indexes to record highs.
Investors have been betting on stocks of industrial and
financial companies as they expect these sectors to benefit the
most from Trump's promise to spend more on infrastructure and
The small cap Russell 2000 and the Dow Transport
indexes also hit record highs.
"The market is projecting a lot more confidence in future
growth, and I don't expect any big pullback to derail the rally
until the end of the year," said Chris Story, senior trader at
Manulife Asset Management in Boston, Massachusetts.
Adding to the upbeat sentiment was a report that showed the
number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits fell from a
five-month high last week, pointing to a robust labor market
that highlighted ths strength in the economy.
The European Central Bank left interest rates unchanged but
made a surprise decision to reduce its asset purchase plans to
60 billion euros ($64 billion) from the current 80 billion euros
U.S. stock index futures fell slightly on the ECB's
decision, but pared losses after the central bank's president,
Mario Draghi, said he was not offering an outright winding-down
of the program.
At 12:28 p.m. ET (1728 GMT), the Dow Jones Industrial
Average was up 88.47 points, or 0.45 percent, at
19,638.09. It touched an all-time high of 19,646.92 - 10th since
The S&P 500 was up 6.81 points, or 0.3 percent, at
2,248.16, slightly below its high of 2,248.73.
The Nasdaq Composite was up 28.65 points, or 0.53
percent, at 5,422.41, after hitting a record of 5,423.19.
Seven of the 11 major S&P 500 sectors were higher, led by a
0.7 percent gain in technology due mostly to Apple
, while the financial sector rose on gains in
Bank of America and JPMorgan.
Goldman Sachs was the top stock on the Dow, rising
1.7 percent. The investment bank's shares have been the biggest
contributor to the index's move since the election.
The industrial sector, which has risen 8.8 percent
in the past month, slipped 0.4 percent on Thursday.
Lululemon soared 15.7 percent to $69.25 after the
yoga and leisure apparel retailer reported a
better-than-expected quarterly profit.
Costco rose 3.1 percent to $158.68 after the
warehouse club retailer reported a quarterly profit that beat
Advancing issues outnumbered decliners on the NYSE by 1,784
to 1,078. On the Nasdaq, 1,920 issues rose and 858 fell.
The S&P 500 index showed 100 new 52-week highs and four new
lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 384 new highs and 19 new lows.
(Reporting by Yashaswini Swamynathan in Bengaluru; Editing by