MARKET SNAPSHOT: Dow Gains Steam In Afternoon Trade; S&P 500 Aims For 6-day Win Streak

By FeaturesDow Jones Newswires

Vehicle sales come in better than expected, help add to market optimism

U.S. stock benchmarks clambered deeper into record territory Tuesday, setting the S&P 500 on course for its sixth gain in a row, as investors took their cues from upbeat data, including a report on vehicle sales.

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What stock benchmarks are doing

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 85 points, or 0.4%, to 22,643. The S&P 500 rose 5 points to 2,534, an increase of 0.2%.

The Nasdaq Composite Index rose 13 points, or 0.2%, to 6,529.

The S&P has gained for five consecutive trading days, its longest winning streak since a six-session advance that ended Sept. 1. The Dow has advanced in four straight sessions, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq has risen for five sessions in a row.

The Russell 2000 , meanwhile, was trading little changed at 1,509, after hitting an all-time high in early trading. The small-cap index has moved in fits and starts in recent trade but has trounced its larger-benchmark peers over the past 30 days, up nearly 7%, compared with a 3% rise for the Dow and a 2.3% gain for the S&P in that same period.

What are driving markets?

Stocks have been supported by some strong economic data, including the recent ISM manufacturing survey ( for September, as well as hopes for tax-cut legislation. However, there are lingering concerns that the market's record advance--the S&P is up 13% year to date, the Dow is on track for a nearly 15% return thus far this year, while the Nasdaq has gained more than 20%--has been overdone. That's especially as the Federal Reserve increases borrowing costs.

What strategists are saying

Which stocks are in focus?

Shares in MGM Resorts International(MGM) shed 0.1% after falling 5.6% Monday ( in the wake of the mass shooting at the company's Mandalay Bay property in Las Vegas.

Home builder Lennar Corp. (LEN) rose 4.4% after better-than-anticipated quarterly results (

See:Las Vegas shooter Paddock had 42 guns and a 'bump stock' (

Gun-maker stocks such as Smith & Wesson parent American Outdoor Brands Corp.(AOBC) and Sturm, Ruger & Co. Inc. (RGR) also could see another active session after rallying Monday ( They often gain when traders think stricter regulations are coming, as sales can get a lift ahead of any change. Shares of American Outdoor gained 2.8% and Sturm rose 2%.

What are the data saying?

Major auto makers posted better-than-expected sales gains in September amid heavier consumer discounts and demand to replace hurricane-damaged vehicles, giving the industry relief from a protracted period of ( results.

General Motors Co.(GM) rose 3% after it reported U.S. sales growth of 12% (, with the stock hitting a record in early trading.

Ford Motor Co.(F) was up 2% after it posted sales growth of 8.7%. The auto maker was also in focus as new CEO Jim Hackett is due to provide an update on the company's progress ( at an investor meeting.

Fiat Chrysler's (FCA.MI) September numbers fell by 10% year-over-year (, thanks to declines in its Jeep, Chrysler and Dodge brands. Its shares last traded slightly weaker, down 0.3% from yesterday.

Shares in Tesla Inc.(TSLA) pared previous losses and rose almost 1.4%. Late Monday, news came that third-quarter production for the electric car maker's Model 3 sedan was lower than anticipated, due to manufacturing bottlenecks (, causing Tesla's shares to take a dive.

Check out:MarketWatch's Economic Calendar (

What other assets are doing

European stock markets ( traded higher on Tuesday, adding on from an eight-day winning streak. Asian equity markets largely closed higher (, though some bourses remained closed for holidays.

Oil futures settled at a two-week low, ( while gold futures booked their third straight decline (, as the ICE U.S. Dollar Index was little changed (

--Victor Reklaitis contributed to this article

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

October 03, 2017 15:51 ET (19:51 GMT)