The S&P 500 closed at an all-time high Tuesday as investors kicked off the second quarter with a spring in their step.
The broad US market index ended at a new record just over 1,885. The Dow Jones industrial average and the Nasdaq also closed with gains. Today's advance comes after stocks closed out a choppy first quarter with a strong finish on Monday.
If history is any guide, stocks could continue pushing higher this month. Stocks have returned 1.7% on average in the month of April over the past 40 years, making it the top performing month of the year, according to Schaeffer's Investment Research.
In economic news, a report on U.S. manufacturing this morning was flat, in line with expectations. Investors have been looking for clues on the health of the economy after Federal Reserve chief Janet Yellen said Monday that the central bank's repair job was not yet finished.
The auto industry is also in focus as monthly sales reports came out from all the top car makers today.
GM has been criticized for how it handled a different recall due to faulty ignition switches, linked to the deaths of 13 people. CEO Mary Barra apologized Tuesday for the deaths and pledged to "do the right thing" in testimony on Capitol Hill. She will return Wednesday for another round of questioning from lawmakers.
Meanwhile, shares of rival car company Ford ( were higher after it reported better than expected March sales growth. )
Ford and GM were among the top trending stocks on StockTwits, where traders couldn't resist comparing the two Detroit heavyweights.
Another trader quipped that GM may be recalling more than just cars.
Caterpillar ( executives were on Capitol Hill to defend the company against allegations it )avoided $2.4 billion in taxes. The company's stock price was up slightly as some traders discounted the report from a Senate panel.
Shares of Intuitive Surgical Group ( soared after the Food and Drug Administration approved the biotech's "da Vinci Xi" technology for minimally invasive surgery. )
Casino companies were on the move following reports that gambling revenue in Macau surged 13% in March. Shares of Las Vegas Sands (, )MGM Resorts ( and )Wynn Resorts ( all gained ground. )