S&P 500 has best win streak since 2009

  @CNNMoneyInvest April 30, 2013: 5:42 PM ET
u.s. stocks, sp500

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NEW YORK (CNNMoney)

The bulls are running on Wall Street.

The S&P 500 closed at a record high Tuesday, while the Nasdaq finished at its highest level in more than 12 years.

Both indexes posted their sixth straight monthly gain in April -- the best streak since the bull market began in March 2009.

The Dow Jones industrial average rose for its fifth straight month in April, and closed just 48 points shy of its all-time high reached earlier in the month.

With stocks reaching new milestones, here are five things to know about the market:

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1. Apple leads the way: Apple (AAPL, Fortune 500) shares rose almost 3% Tuesday, as the company took another a step toward the largest sale of corporate bonds ever. The company is expected to offer $17 billion worth of bonds later Tuesday, according to the Wall Street Journal and Bloomberg.

The advance in Apple's stock boosted the tech-heavy Nasdaq as well as the broader market. IBM (IBM, Fortune 500) and Microsoft (MSFT, Fortune 500) led the Dow's gains for the day.

Apple's stock is now up almost 15% from its 16-month low hit earlier this month.

Related: Fear & Greed Index ticks further into Greed

2. Home prices jump, consumers feeling better: The S&P/Case-Shiller 20-city home price index rose a slightly-higher-than-expected 9.3% in February, marking the biggest gain since May 2006, near the height of the housing bubble.

The Conference Board's monthly consumer confidence index rose to a five-month high in April.

On the downside, the Institute for Supply Management's index of manufacturing activity in the Midwest dropped to 49 in April, missing economists' expectations. A reading below 50 points signals contraction in the sector for the first time since September 2009. The ISM's reading on national manufacturing activity is due Wednesday, and economists are still expecting it to show a modest expansion.

Related: World's 5 hottest stock markets

3. Best Buy big winner: Shares of Best Buy (BBY, Fortune 500) rallied after the retailer announced an agreement to sell its European stake to Carphone Warehouse (CPW). The stock was the top performer in the S&P 500 Tuesday, and is the second-biggest gainer in the broad index this year, with shares up almost 120% in 2013.

4. U.S. earnings disappoint, Europe earnings surprise: Pfizer (PFE, Fortune 500) posted worse-than-expected profit and sales and lowered its outlook for the year. The lackluster results sent shares of the drug maker down more than 4%, making it the biggest loser in the Dow.

Pitney Bowes (PBI, Fortune 500) reported earnings that plunged from a year ago and came in below Wall Street's expectations. The mailing and package services company also slashed its quarterly dividend in half. Shares tumbled more than 15%, making Pitney Bowes the biggest decliner in the S&P 500.

But earnings reports from European companies including oil giant BP (BP) and banks UBS (UBS) and Deutsche Bank (DB) surprised investors with better-than-expected results. Shares of all three companies were sharply higher.

Are Euro banks out of the woods?

5. Sell in May and go away? The Wall Street adage has proven to be true for the last three years, and with stocks at lofty levels, analysts have been warning that a short-term correction could be in the cards again.

May will begin with the central banks in focus, as the Federal Reserve is expected to wrap up its two-day meeting Wednesday afternoon. The Fed's policies have been widely been given credit for boosting stocks.

With the economy growing slowly and inflation still tame, the Fed is expected to hold interest rates low and keep up with its pace of $85 billion in bond purchases a month.

The European Central Bank is scheduled to meet Thursday. The ECB is expected to cut interest rates for the first time in 10 months this week, as Europe's economy remain mired in recession. To top of page



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