Dow and S&P 500 hit records, Nasdaq lifted by tech

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The Dow and the S&P 500 closed at record highs on Wednesday, led by Hewlett-Packard’s jump a day after the personal computer maker’s earnings, while the Nasdaq finished at a 13-year high.

The tech-heavy Nasdaq got its biggest boost from Apple Inc AAPL.O, which rose 2.4 percent to $545.96, the stock's highest level since January. Technology stocks have lagged the broader market this year, with the S&P information technology sector index .SPLRCT rising almost 21 percent, compared with the S&P 500's 27 percent surge.

“We’re seeing some rotation into the tech sector, which was left out of broader market gains,” said Frank Davis, director of sales and trading at LEK Securities, in New York.

Hewlett-Packard Co HPQ.N shares shot up 9 percent to $27.36, the highest since August, after the company reported stronger-than-expected results late Tuesday.

Expectations were low for HP's fourth quarter following a disappointing third quarter and after tech bellwethers IBM IBM.N and Cisco Systems Inc CSCO.O reported poor results.

Overall trading volume was light at 4.37 billion shares, according to BATS. Many traders were out for the Thanksgiving holiday, as the U.S. stock market will be closed on Thursday. On Friday, the market will close at 1 p.m..

The Dow Jones industrial average .DJI rose 24.53 points or 0.15 percent, to end at 16,097.33, a record closing high. The S&P 500 .SPX gained 4.48 points or 0.25 percent, to finish at 1,807.23, a record closing high. The Nasdaq Composite .IXIC added 27.001 points or 0.67 percent, to close at 4,044.75.

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Energy was the day's worst-performing sector. The S&P index of energy shares .SPNY fell 0.7 percent after a higher-than-expected increase in U.S. crude oil inventories.

U.S. light crude oil futures fell 1.5 percent to settle at $92.30 a barrel, which may translate into lower gasoline prices for consumers.

Weekly jobless claims for unemployment benefits unexpectedly fell in the latest week, a sign of steady improvement in the labor market. Analysts were expecting an increase in claims.

The November Chicago Purchasing Managers Index and the final November reading for the Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan consumer sentiment index exceeded expectations.

Editing by Jan Paschal