S&P, Dow Log Record Closing Highs


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The Dow and broader S&P 500 notched record closing highs Tuesday as traders responded to upbeat corporate earnings and remained hopeful the Federal Reserve will keep its foot firmly on the economic accelerator.

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Today's Markets

The Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed 111 points, or 0.72%, to 15680, the S&P 500 rose 9.8 points, or 0.56%, to 1772 and the Nasdaq Composite advanced 12.2 points, or 0.31%, to 3952.

The broad S&P 500 ticked up to a fresh all-time closing high on Monday as well. The rosy sentiment pervaded into Tuesday after Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) posted better-than-expected quarterly profits and revenues, and a current-quarter sales estimates that beat Wall Street's expectations. However, the world's biggest tech company's gross margin forecast came in shy of estimates, putting a cap on shares.

Pfizer (NYSE:PFE), meanwhile, revealed quarterly profits that beat expectations, but sales that were slightly light.

The gains on Tuesday were fairly widespread, with every major sector ending in the green. Telecommunications and consumer staples performed the best by a wide margin, while utilities and materials struggled.

The economic docket was heavy on the day.

The Commerce Department said retail sales fell 0.1% in September, missing expectations they would rise by the same margin. Excluding the auto segment, sales rose 0.4%, matching expectations.

Analysts at Barclays boosted their estimates for third-quarter gross domestic product by 0.2 percentage point to 2.1% on the back of the stronger-than-expected core data.

The closely-watched S&P/Case-Shiller home-price report prices in 20 major U.S. cities rose 1.3% in August, from the month prior, on a non-seasonally adjusted basis. Economists expected prices to rise 0.8%. Prices were up 12.8% from the year prior.

"We expect that the encouraging rise in home prices seen this year, along with inventory levels that remain low relative to what we have seen in the past, will help boost demand for new residential construction over the medium term," Barclays economist Cooper Howes wrote to the investment bank's clients.

Meanwhile, the Labor Department reported wholesale inflation fell 0.1% in September, missing expectations it would rise 0.2%. Excluding the food and energy segment, prices rose 0.1%, matching economists’ expectations.

The Conference Board said consumer confidence fell in October to 71.2 from an upwardly revised 80.2 the month prior. Economists expected the gauge to fall to 75 from an initially reported 79.7.

All these reports come as the Federal Reserve kicks off its two-day policy-setting meeting. Economists widely expect the central bank to hold off from tapering its vast bond-buying program until the economy strengthens further -- perhaps in December or March.

In commodities, U.S. crude oil futures fell 74 cents, or 0.74%, to $97.95 a barrel. Wholesale New York Harbor gasoline slid 1.3% to $2.598 a gallon. Gold slumped $8.70, or 0.64%, to $1,343 a troy ounce.

Foreign Markets

The Euro Stoxx 50 jumped 0.65% to 3042, the English FTSE 100 gained 0.56% to 6763 and the German DAX advanced 0.25% to 9001.

In Asia, the Japanese Nikkei 225 fell 0.49% to 14325 and the Chinese Hang Seng edged up by 0.18% to 22847.

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