Dow marks first close above 15,000, S&P ends at record

NEW YORK, (Reuters) – The Dow closed above 15,000 for the first time today and the S&P 500 ended at another record high, extending the market’s rally as more investors rushed to join the party and German industrial data beat expectations.

It was the fourth straight record close for the S&P 500. Both the Dow and the S&P 500 hit intraday record highs as well.

Nine of the S&P 500’s 10 sector indexes advanced. Shares of JPMorgan Chase, up 2 percent at $49.14, led the S&P 500’s climb.

Caterpillar rose 2.5 percent to $89.79 and ranked as the Dow’s top percentage gainer.

Information technology bucked the trend, however, with Apple shares declining after three days of gains. The stock ended down 0.4 percent at $458.66.

Investors’ sentiment was buoyed early in the day by data from Germany, Europe’s largest economy, which reported a 2.2 percent increase in industrial orders in March, compared with expectations for a drop of 0.5 percent.

“Markets haven’t really been anticipating much of a recovery in the euro. There’s been so little optimism,” said Sean Lynch, global investment strategist for Wells Fargo Private Bank in Omaha, Nebraska.

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 87.31 points, or 0.58 percent, to 15,056.20 at the close. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index gained 8.46 points, or 0.52 percent, to end at 1,625.96. The Nasdaq Composite Index advanced 3.66 points, or 0.11 percent, to close at 3,396.63.

During the session, the Dow hit an all-time intraday high at 15,056.67, while the S&P 500 touched a record intraday high at 1,626.03.

The S&P 500 is now up 14 percent for the year.

The energy sector was driven higher by U.S. oil and gas producer EOG Resources Inc, which climbed 7.7 percent to $135.69 and ranked as the S&P 500’s second-biggest percentage gainer a day after the company reported first-quarter earnings that topped Wall Street’s expectations.

The S&P energy sector index gained 0.7 percent.

The U.S. stock market’s gains so far have come on strong corporate results and accommodative monetary policies from the Federal Reserve, two factors that may now be priced into markets. Last week’s jobs report was unexpectedly strong, helping to drive stocks’ advance.

Stocks this year have gone without a sustained pullback as investors use any market decline to add to positions. Many analysts expect markets to trend higher, but some see a near-term pullback, citing a lack of positive catalysts and mixed economic data.

Both Fossil Inc and DirecTV reported earnings that surged beyond expectations. Fossil’s stock jumped 9 percent to $107.88 and ranked as the No. 1 percentage gainer in the S&P 500. DirecTV shares shot up 6.9 percent to $61.95.

Earnings have largely been better than expected. About 68.5 percent of S&P 500 companies have surpassed estimates so far. At the same time, revenues have been disappointing.

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