Profit Gains and Confidence Lift Shares


Strong corporate earnings and an increase in consumer confidence elevated stocks across industries on Tuesday, with the energy sector and small companies leading the gains.

The Dow Jones industrial average climbed back above 17,000, while the Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index approached its nominal record closing high.

The stock market rose from the start of trading, then built on the momentum as investors were encouraged by the latest earnings reports. Whirlpool, AutoNation and the engine maker Cummins all rose nearly 7 percent after reporting quarterly results.

With Tuesday’s gain, the market has recovered almost all of the ground it lost in a four-week slide through Oct. 15, when the Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index closed just short of a correction, or a drop of 10 percent from its previous high.

“Here we are just two weeks later, and we’ve just about gained it back,” said Scott Wren, a stock strategist at Wells Fargo Advisors. “We think it’s still going up.”

Investors were encouraged by news that a key gauge of consumer confidence rebounded strongly in October. The Conference Board reported that its confidence index hit a seven-year high of 94.5 in October, up from 89 in September, as solid job gains raised expectations for economic growth, an positive sign for retailers on the eve of the holiday shopping season.

“Confidence is good, and we’re predicting Christmas is going to be very strong,” said Philip J. Orlando, chief equity strategist at Federated Investors. “Stocks are cheap right now.”

The S.&P. 500 rose 23.42 points, or 1.2 percent, to 1,985.05. That puts it just 26.31 points short of its Sept. 18 nominal record close.

All 10 industry groups in the index rose, led by a 2.3 percent gain in energy stocks because of an increase in oil prices.

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 187.81 points, or 1.1 percent, to 17,005.75, its first close above 17,000 since Oct. 3.

The Nasdaq composite index climbed 78.36 points, or 1.8 percent, to 4,564.29.

The biggest gain was in the Russell 2000, a small-stock index. It jumped 2.9 percent.

In other economic news, orders to companies for long-lasting manufactured goods fell for a second month in September, a government report showed. Orders for durable goods retreated 1.3 percent in September after a 18.3 percent tumble in August. Orders have fluctuated in recent months because of moves in aircraft orders, a volatile category.

Home prices rose in August, albeit at a more modest pace. The Standard & Poor’s/Case-Shiller 20-city home price index rose 5.6 percent in August from 12 months earlier. That is down from a 6.7 percent increase in July and the smallest gain since November 2012. Home prices were rising at a double-digit pace as recently as last fall. Meritage Homes rose 84 cents, or 2.2 percent, to $38.60.

Investors are looking to Wednesday’s announcement by the Federal Reserve’s policy making committee for insight into when the central bank might start raising interest rates. As the Fed winds down its $4 trillion bond-buying program, known as quantitative easing, concern is heightening about whether the nation’s economy is strong enough to sustain growth without that support.

Among the stocks on the move, Amgen rose $8.99, or 6 percent, to $157.19 after it announced plans to cut more jobs, buy back $2 billion worth of stock and raise its dividend by 30 percent. That followed news Monday that third-quarter adjusted earnings and revenue for Amgen, the world’s biggest biotech drug manufacturer, had topped Wall Street’s expectations.

The Madison Square Garden Company surged $7.21, or 11 percent, to $72.99 after it said it was considering splitting its entertainment businesses from its media and sports divisions.

Twitter, the social media network, plummeted $4.78, or 10 percent, to $43.78 after reporting meager growth in the number of its users.

Kohl’s was the biggest loser in the S.&P. 500, falling $3.89, or 6.6 percent, to $54.66. The retailer predicted its annual profit would be at the low end of its forecast, partly because of slower sales in the third quarter.

The price of oil rose as increasing consumer confidence led investors to anticipate greater demand for energy. Crude oil for December delivery rose 42 cents to settle at $81.42 a barrel in New York. Crude has dropped sharply since June, when it went as high as $107 a barrel.

Brent crude rose 20 cents to $86.03 a barrel in London.

In the bond market, interest rates moved higher. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note rose to 2.30 percent from 2.26 percent late Monday, while its price dropped 12/32, to 100 21/32.


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