By Yashaswini Swamynathan
(Reuters) - Wall Street's three main indexes closed at record highs on Friday, helped by gains in consumer staples and technology stocks as investors hunted for bargains in a post-election rally.
The stock markets closed early for Black Friday, while trading volumes were thin.
The three major indexes closed higher for the third week in a row, extending their rally since the U.S. election. The S&P 500 marked its seventh record close since Nov. 8.
However, the defensive consumer staples and utilities sectors have been the worst performers in that period.
The consumer staples sector gave the S&P 500 the biggest boost on Friday, closing up 0.79 percent, led by gains in Procter & Gamble and Coca-Cola.
"People are looking for value in the market. While many stocks have risen quite briskly, investors are looking for some forgotten names in the rally," said Andre Bakhos, managing director at Janlyn Capital in Bernardsville, New Jersey.
"These orphaned stocks are being hunted today."
The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 68.96 points, or 0.36 percent, to 19,152.14.
The S&P 500 gained 8.63 points, or 0.39 percent, to 2,213.35 and the Nasdaq Composite added 18.24 points, or 0.34 percent, to 5,398.92.
For the week, the Dow and the Nasdaq gained 1.5 percent and the S&P 500 gained 1.4 percent.
Ten of the 11 major S&P sectors closed higher Friday, led by a 1.43 percent rise in utilities.
The technology sector rose 0.37 percent, boosted by Cisco and Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL).
The energy sector closed down 0.39 percent, due to a 2.8 percent drop in oil prices amid uncertainty that the OPEC would arrive at a decision to cut production during a meeting next week. [O/R]
Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ) closed up about 1 percent after the company confirmed that it was in talks to acquire Swiss biotechnology company Actelion.
About 2.96 billion shares changed hands on U.S. exchanges on Friday compared with the 7.88 billion average for the last 20 sessions.
Advancing issues outnumbered decliners on the NYSE by 1,840 to 999. On the Nasdaq, 1,728 issues rose and 965.
The S&P 500 index posted 46 new 52-week highs and no new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 276 new highs and 12 new lows.
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