U.S. stocks ended higher on Tuesday, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 rising to record closes after an upbeat report on durable-goods orders.
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In a holiday-shortened session, the Dow (DJI) recorded its 49th record close this year after rising for five consecutive days. The blue-chip average rose 62.94 points, or 0.4%, to 16,357.55. The S&P 500 (SPX) also reached a record level after three consecutive days of gains. The benchmark index closed 5.33 points higher, or 0.3%, to 1,833.32.
The technology-heavy Nasdaq Composite (RIXF) closed up 6.51 points, or 0.2%, at 4,155.42, its highest level since September 2000.
The market closed early at 1 p.m. Eastern and will be closed on Wednesday for Christmas.
On Monday, both the Dow and the S&P 500 closed at record highs after upbeat consumer-spending data added to the perception that the U.S. economic recovery is poised to accelerate in 2014.
Investors welcomed Tuesday's durable-goods report showing that orders for big-ticket U.S. items, such as aircraft and transportation equipment, rose 3.5% last month. Economists surveyed by MarketWatch had expected durable-goods orders to rise 2%.
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In a separate report, U.S. home prices rose 8.2% in October from the same month last year, according to the Federal Housing Finance Agency. Prices rose 0.5% from September.
Rising mortgage rates did not affect the sales of new single-family homes much, according to U.S. Commerce Department data released on Tuesday. Sales declined 2.1% in November to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 464,000, down from a rate of 474,000 in October, which was the fastest pace since July 2008.
"Historically, the month of December is usually stronger for stocks and we see it this year," said Joe Bell, senior equity analyst at Schaeffer's Investment. "It looks like markets have rewarded clarity about the economy with some buying, after the Federal Reserve announced tapering of its stimulus last week and Congress reached a budget deal."
Shares in Twitter Inc. (TWTR) jumped 8.4% on Tuesday, adding to their 7.6% gain from the previous day. Wunderlich Securities Analyst Blake Harper wrote about Twitter on Tuesday: "While the company is growing revenues faster than its fastest growing peers and we do recognize the potential for the company to capture larger portions of the mobile and TV advertising market, it appears valuation metrics are irrelevant and that investors are betting aggressively on Twitter being the next great media-technology platform."
Shares of CalAmp Corp. (CAMP) dropped 7% after the company's outlook for the current quarter fell short of Wall Street estimates.
Shares of Supernus Pharmaceuticals Inc. (SUPN) rallied 13% after a drug on which the firm collaborated received Food and Drug Administration approval.
Tesla Motors Inc. (TSLA) shares rose 5.4% after the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reaffirmed the car maker's five-star rating. "We see a series of positive catalysts over the next several months that could lead to renewed confidence in the company's earnings trajectory," said Deutsche Bank Analyst Dan Galves. In particular, he cited the favorable resolution to the probe, strong orders out of China, and increased visibility of accelerating production.
Japanese shares closed at a six-year high, while most other markets in Asia also ended higher. European stocks rose in thin trade, with several indexes closed in recognition of Christmas Eve. Gold prices gained. The U.S. dollar inched higher.