8/26/2014 1:44:00 PM US stocks gain; S&P 500 holds steady at 2,000 points still
(AP) — Stocks hovered near record territory in afternoon trading Tuesday, a day after the Standard & Poor’s 500 index closed just short of the 2,000-point milestone. Encouraging economic news helped set the major stock indexes on course to extend their prior-day’s gains.
KEEPING SCORE: The S&P 500 rose three points, or 0.2 percent, to 2,001 as of 1:34 p.m. Eastern. The Dow Jones industrial average rose 54 points, or 0.3 percent, to 17,131, just seven points below its own record closing high set on July 16. The Nasdaq composite gained nine points, or 0.2 percent, to 4,567.
ECONOMIC BOOST: The Conference Board said that its consumer confidence index rose this month to the highest point in nearly seven years. Strong job gains helped boost the index, which has been rising for four months. A separate report showed that orders of durable manufactured goods surged by a record 22.6 percent in July, thanks to a jump in aircraft sales.
THE QUOTE: The reports signal that the economy is accelerating, said Kate Warne, an investment strategist at Edward Jones.
“It’s the positive catalyst that economic growth is improving that has helped drive the market to its record highs and will probably continue to push it higher,” she said.
HOUSING RED FLAG? A key housing market barometer shows U.S. home prices increased at a slower pace in June. The Standard & Poor’s/Case-Shiller 20-city home price index rose 8.1 percent in June from a year earlier. That’s down from a 9.4 percent gain in May. The deceleration should help ease some of the price pressures on would-be buyers.
GAMING PLAY: Amazon rose 2.5 percent after saying that it would buy video streaming company Twitch for $970 million. The stock climbed $8.32 to $342.36.
SALES SLUMP: Best Buy fell $2.16, or 6.8 percent, to $29.82 after the electronics retailer reported that its fiscal second-quarter net income plunged 45 percent as sales weakened.
TRAVEL TURBULENCE: Shares in Orbitz fell 8 percent after American Airlines and US Airways disclosed they are pulling flight listings from the site because they have not been able to reach agreement on a long-term contract with the travel booking website operator. Orbitz shed 72 cents to $7.71.
SECTOR WATCH: Eight of the 10 sectors in the S&P 500 index moved higher, led by energy. Industrial and utilities stocks fell.
OVER THERE: In Europe, Germany’s DAX rose 0.8 percent, while France’s CAC-40 rose 1.2 percent. Britain’s FTSE 100 rose 0.7 percent after being closed Monday for a holiday.
BONDS AND COMMODITIES: Bond prices rose. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note rose to 2.39 percent. U.S. crude for October delivery rose 28 cents to $93.64 a barrel in New York.