Stocks back in the high life
Dow's strongest finish since January 2000; S&P hits nearly 5-year high; Nasdaq more muted.
NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) - A batch of strong earnings reports helped lift the Dow and S&P to multi-year highs Tuesday despite near record-high oil prices.
The Dow Jones industrial average (up 73.16 to 11,416.45, Charts) added 0.6 percent, putting the blue-chip indicator at its highest level since Jan. 19, 2000. The broader Standard & Poor's 500 (up 8.02 to 1,313.21, Charts) index gained 0.6 percent to end the session at its highest point since May 21, 2001.
The tech-heavy Nasdaq composite (up 5.05 to 2,309.84, Charts) rose 0.2 percent.
Stocks bounced back out of the gate and remained in the black throughout the day after the previous session's late selloff.
"Earnings reports continue to be very good," said Hugh Johnson, chairman of asset management company Johnson Illington Advisors. But "there is a little bit if hesitancy because we're headed towards some important numbers, particularly the payroll report on Friday," he warned.
In addition, "oil is kind of a drag on the stock market," Johnson added.
Light, sweet crude oil for June delivery settled 91 cents higher at $74.61 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The government's weekly inventory report will be released at 10:30 a.m. ET Wednesday.
Looking at what might move markets Wednesday, computer-services company Electronic Data Systems (up $0.03 to $27.62, Research) reported higher quarterly profit after the closing bell, but came in below expectations, sending shares down 1 percent in extended trade.
DreamWorks Animation (down $0.75 to $26.00, Research) posted a sharply lower first-quarter net profit, but outperformed Wall Street expectations, sending shares of the movie studio that made "Shrek" 3 percent higher in after-hours trade.
CIGNA (up $0.32 to $105.50, Research), Procter & Gamble (up $0.23 to $58.11, Research) and Time Warner (up $0.08 to $17.42, Research), the parent company of CNNMoney.com, will all report earnings before the opening bell on Wednesday.
In Tuesday's session, Verizon Communications (down $0.15 to $32.64, Research) retreated from early gains after the company reported first-quarter earnings that fell from a year earlier, but beat analysts' forecasts, excluding charges.
TXU (up $7.59 to $57.50, Research) jumped over 15 percent in regular trade after the Texas-based power producer said first-quarter earnings rose sharply on strong operating results in its competitive energy segment.
Auto parts supplier Visteon (up $1.09 to $6.95, Research) gained nearly 19 percent in active New York Stock Exchange trade after reporting improved earnings and revenue and raising its 2006 earnings forecast. The company's improvements were as a result of a restructuring announced last quarter. Visteon avoided bankruptcy last year when it received a bailout from former parent Ford Motor (unchanged at $6.91, Research).
Sirius Satellite Radio (up $0.26 to $4.88, Research) rose nearly 6 percent in very active Nasdaq trade after the company reported a wider quarterly loss from a year earlier that was nonetheless narrower than what analysts had expected. The company also reported an improvement in quarterly revenue.
Shares of Vical (up $1.69 to $7.19, Research) soared 30 percent after the biotech drug developer beat Wall Street estimates for the first quarter and said its vaccine protected some animals against the bird flu in studies.
A number of economically sensitive Dow stocks were also higher, including Caterpillar (up $1.85 to $77.48, Research) and Boeing (up $1.47 to $85.33, Research). Financial stocks, including JP Morgan (up $0.72 to $45.50, Research) and AIG (up $0.63 to $65.32, Research) gained too.
Oil stocks jumped in tune with the raw commodity. The Philadelphia Oil Service (Charts) sector index added 3.4 percent.
Apple Computer (up $2.02 to $71.62, Research) gained almost 3 percent on reports Monday that the company has renewed contracts with major music labels that will allow it to keep selling song downloads for 99 cents through its iTunes store.
However, the Nasdaq's gains were limited by weakness in the biotech sector. The Amex Biotechnology (down 10.96 to 662.30, Charts) index fell close to 2 percent.
Market breadth was positive. On the New York Stock Exchange, winners beat losers by nearly two to one on volume of 1.7 billion shares. On the Nasdaq, advancers beat decliners by eight to seven on volume of 2.1 billion shares.
Treasury prices edged higher, lowering the yield on the benchmark 10-year note to 5.11 percent, from 5.14 percent late Monday. Bond prices and yields move in opposite directions.
The COMEX futures contract for June delivery gained $7.20 to $667.40 an ounce, a fresh 25-year high.
In global trade, major Asian markets ended higher and European markets closed higher.
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