Material, tech shares among day's biggest gainers
U.S. stocks traded near session highs on Tuesday, with both the Dow and the S&P 500 on track for their second straight daily gain, while the Nasdaq was poised to snap a three-session losing streak as recent weakness inspired some investors to hunt for investment opportunities.
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The Dow Jones Industrial Average jumped 178 points, or 0.8%, to 21,882, led higher by shares of Cisco Systems Inc.(CSCO), Apple Inc.(AAPL) and Caterpillar Inc.(CAT). If gains hold, the blue-chip gauge will post its best daily point-and-percentage gain since April 25 (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/dow-industrials-150-point-surge-puts-benchmark-on-track-for-best-daily-gain-in-nearly-4-months-2017-08-22), according to FactSet data.
The S&P 500 surged 20 points, or 0.8%, to 2,448. The day's gains were broad, with nine of the 11 primary S&P 500 sectors rising on the day. The biggest sector gainers were materials (XLB), up 1%, and technology (XLK), 1.3% higher.
The Nasdaq Composite Index climbed 75 points, or 1.2%, to 6,285.
Among the biggest gainers on the day, Freeport-McMoRan Inc.(FCX) rose 2.8%, boosting material names. In tech, semiconductors were among the biggest advancers, with Applied Materials Inc. (AMAT) up 2.6% and Advanced Micro Devices Inc. (AMD) climbing 1%.
U.S. stock indexes are attempting to rally from successive bruising weekly declines that have tested investor confidence in the market's bull run, as political strife besetting President Donald Trump's administration and the threat of military conflagrations in the Korean Peninsula rattles nerves.
Still, the main indexes aren't far from record levels, with the Dow and S&P 500 within two percentage points of their closing all-time highs, hit on Aug. 7, while the Nasdaq, which has been more intensely hit by selling, is down about 2.1% from its July 26 record.
"There had been fears that last week's selling may accelerate, given the ructions and uncertainty apparent within the Trump administration and concerns that this week's U.S./South Korean military exercises around the Korean Peninsula could trigger hostilities with North Korea," said David Morrison, market strategist at Spread Co, in a post online (https://www.fxstreet.com/analysis/european-us-indices-indicate-stronger-open-201708220706).
"But for now it looks as if traders are taking advantage of the recent selloff to buy the dips, in tried and tested manner. The question is if it will work as well now as it has in the past," Morrison added.
Read: A problem for buy-the-dip investors: no dips to buy (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/a-problem-for-buy-the-dip-investors-no-dips-to-buy-2017-08-08)
"Valuations, as we all know, are in the sky," said Bruce Bittles, chief investment strategist at Robert W. Baird & Co. "But they don't tell you the direction of the market. What they tell you is the level of risk in the market, and investor psychology. That people are buying here suggests there's long-term optimism, although there's also vulnerability."
Read:'Bull market check list remains intact' despite pullback, Morgan Stanley says (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/bull-market-check-list-remains-intact-despite-pullback-morgan-stanley-says-2017-08-21)
The U.S. and South Korea this week kicked off their annual military exercises (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/tensions-expected-to-rise-as-us-south-korea-start-annual-war-games-2017-08-20) that in the past have enraged Pyongyang. North Korea warned on Sunday that the exercises are "reckless behavior driving the situation into the uncontrollable phase of a nuclear war."
Bittles, however, said recent weakness in the market has not been due to North Korea or Washington, rather it's been a deterioration in market breadth, or fewer stocks sustaining the market, that's weighed upon sentiment.
Jackson Hole: Traders were already focusing on the Kansas City Federal Reserve Bank's central bank symposium in Jackson Hole, Wyo., which starts Thursday and runs through Saturday. Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen and European Central Bank President Mario Draghi are among top speakers, with investors hoping to get hints on the future monetary policy path from both institutions.
"The conference has in recent years been a venue for big news in monetary policy, but this time around it is likely to be undramatic," wrote UBS economists in a note.
"We expect [Yellen's] speech to keep to well-trod financial stability topics--some excesses may exist, but the system is safe--and eschew discussion of potential near-term policy actions," they said.
Yellen and Draghi are both slated to speak on Friday.
The U.S. dollar rose on Tuesday in anticipation of the speeches, with the ICE Dollar Index up 0.4% at 93.51.
Stock movers: Shares of Nordson Corp.(NDSN) tumbled 10% after the industrial machinery company's outlook fell short of Wall Street estimates (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/nordson-shares-fall-on-outlook-after-earnings-beat-2017-08-21).
Chevron Corp. (CVX) shares rose 0.6% following a report (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/chevron-ceo-john-watson-to-step-down-wsj-2017-08-22-13912733) that Chief Executive John Watson was stepping down.
Medtronic PLC (MDT) shares slipped 2.1% after it reported quarterly sales that fell short of forecast.
Tronc Inc.(TRNC) shares rallied 6.7% after the media company announced a management shakeup (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/tronc-shares-gain-8-after-company-names-new-la-times-publisher-2017-08-22) at the Los Angeles Times.
Pandora Media Inc.(P) shares rose 4.8% after a Morgan Stanley analyst said the online music service should benefit from focusing on its core business.
Toll Brothers Inc.(TOL) reported third-quarter earnings that beat expectations (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/toll-brothers-profit-beats-estimates-as-sales-fall-slightly-short-2017-08-22), though sales came in below forecasts. The stock declined 2.9%.
Shares of Coty Inc. (COTY) fell 13% after the beauty-products company reported fourth-quarter results that missed Wall Street expectations.
DSW Inc.(DSW) shares jumped 17% and were on track for their best single-session climb (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/dsws-stock-surge-puts-it-on-track-for-best-daily-gain-since-its-2005-public-debut-2017-08-22)since going public in 2005, on solid quarterly earnings
After the market closes on Tuesday, results are expected from Salesforce.com Inc.(CRM) and Intuit Inc.(INTU). Read a preview of Salesforce earnings: Looking to e-commerce, AI for growth as Dreamforce approaches (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/salesforce-earnings-looking-to-e-commerce-ai-for-growth-as-dreamforce-approaches-2017-08-21)
U.S.-listed shares of Australian-based BHP Billiton Ltd.(BHP.AU) rose 1.3% after the mining giant said it swung to a full-year profit (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/bhp-billiton-swings-to-profit-to-hike-dividend-2017-08-22) and it plans to sell its U.S. shale business.
Other markets:Asian stock markets closed mainly higher (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/singapore-ends-5-day-slump-leads-asian-market-gains-2017-08-21), with Singapore's FTSE Straits Times Index ending a five-session losing streak.
European markets finished in positive territory (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/european-stocks-set-to-snap-losing-streak-as-miners-jump-2017-08-22), after three straight sessions of losses.
Oil prices rose 0.5% on a decline in U.S. supply (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/oil-prices-rebound-ahead-of-us-supply-data-2017-08-22), while metal prices mostly declined after recent run-ups, with gold (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/gold-struggles-to-reclaim-1300-despite-safe-haven-underpinnings-2017-08-22) settling down 0.4% to $1,291 an ounce.
--Sara Sjolin in London contributed to this report.
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
August 22, 2017 14:25 ET (18:25 GMT)
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