US STOCKS-Dow, S&P at new highs; Exxon leads blue chips higher

Reuters

* FedEx, J.C. Penney gain on hedge fund stakes

* NY factory index falls in Nov to weakest since May -NY Fed

* Twitter options begin trading

* Indexes up: Dow 0.3 pct; S&P 0.3 pct; Nasdaq 0.2 pct

By Angela Moon

NEW YORK, Nov 15 (Reuters) - The Dow and the S&P 500 climbedto fresh highs on Friday in the wake of reassuring remarks byFederal Reserve chair nominee Janet Yellen that the centralbank's accommodative policies would continue.

Still, the advance was limited, with both indexes on trackfor a sixth consecutive week of gains and the S&P 500 just fivepoints away from 1,800, its next level of potential resistance.The Nasdaq 100 index was near a 13-year high.

"The market is starting to price in improved economicgrowth, improved earnings and slowly getting over worries aboutthe what the Fed might do," said Tim Ghriskey, who helps managemore than $1.5 billion as chief investment officer of SolarisAsset Management LLC.

Shares of Exxon Mobil Corp led the blue chip Dowindex higher. The stock rose 1.2 percent to $94.35 a day afterWarren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway Inc disclosed a new $3.45 billion stake in the world's largestpublicly traded oil company.

J.C. Penney Co shares rose 6.2 percent to $9.23after a number of hedge funds, including Highfields Capital,Jana Partners and Farallon Capital Management Group tookpositions in the ailing department store operator, and GlenviewCapital, already a big owner, added to its holdings.

FedEx Corp shares added 2 percent to $139.12 afterregulatory filings showed funds including Daniel Loeb's ThirdPoint LLC, George Soros' Soros Fund Management LLC and JohnPaulson's hedge fund, Paulson & Co all took stakes in thecompany.

A divergence continued between large-cap and mid- andsmall-cap stocks, which are seen as riskier because they exhibitgreater sensitivity to macroeconomic factors. The Russell 2000index of small- and mid-cap stocks was flat at 1,111.37.

"Going forward, I'm keeping an eye on the 1,120 area on theRussell 2000, as small-cap leadership would be a good sign forrisk appetite," said Bryan Sapp, senior trading analyst atSchaefer's Investment Research in Cincinnati.

The Dow Jones industrial average was up 50.66 points,or 0.32 percent, at 15,926.88. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index was up 3.56 points, or 0.20 percent, at 1,794.18. TheNasdaq Composite Index was up 6.64 points, or 0.17percent, at 3,979.38.

Following Twitter 's trading debut on the New YorkStock Exchange on Nov. 7, options market makers began pricingand trading contracts Friday to buy or sell Twitter shares atvarious prices in the future.

Data showed New York state's manufacturing sectorunexpectedly shrank this month while U.S. industrial productionfell in October as output at power plants and minesdeclined. The market barelyreacted to the reports.

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