Stocks closed higher for the fourth consecutive day as market-friendly economic data coupled with the expectation for the Federal Reserve to soothe nervous investors at the central bank conference in Jackson Hole drove the S&P 500 to another record high and the Dow Jones Industrial Average back over 17,000. Financial stocks put in a strong performance with Bank of America ( BAC ) shares more than 4% higher despite agreeing to a record $17 billion penalty with the Department of Justice over mortgage-backed securities. Although tech stocks had another good day, the Nasdaq Composite lagged its blue chip counterpart due to weakness in biotech and semiconductor stocks; it moved in and out of positive territory before ending a whisker higher.
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