* 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 (Reuters) - 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 simplify regulations.
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 on Thursday.
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 election.
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 analysts’ expectations.
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 Anil D’Silva)