S&P 500 ends at record for fifth day; Groupon up late
NEW YORK (Reuters) - The S&P 500 closed at an all-time high for a fifth day on Wednesday in a broad rally that keeps surprising investors with its longevity and resilience.
The Dow also ended at a record high for a second straight day, pushing further above 15,000.
Financials, materials and technology sectors were among the strongest performers, with shares of International Business Machines (IBM.N) leading the Dow higher. IBM's stock rose 1.1 percent to $204.82.
Among the S&P 500's biggest percentage gainers was Whole Foods Market Inc (WFM.O), whose shares jumped 10.1 percent to $102.19 a day after it reported a rebound in same-store sales and raised its full-year profit view.
Apple (AAPL.O) shares finished the day up 1.1 percent at $463.84 after falling in the previous session.
While volume has been below average all week, the three major U.S. stock indexes have ended sessions higher than where they began, suggesting momentum will continue.
Solid corporate earnings along with continued accommodative monetary policies have supported the market's climb, which had been led by mostly defensive sectors. The recent rally, though, appears to reflect a shift to growth-oriented sectors leading the advance.
"Cyclicals will probably be fairly strong in the short term, based on the strengthening parts of the economy," said Bryan Evans, investment advisor and portfolio manager at Cozad Asset Management, in Champaign, Illinois.
The Dow Jones industrial average .DJI gained 48.92 points, or 0.32 percent, to end at a record high of 15,105.12 - its second consecutive close above 15,000. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index .SPX rose 6.73 points, or 0.41 percent, to finish at a record high of 1,632.69. The Nasdaq Composite Index .IXIC advanced 16.64 points, or 0.49 percent, to close at 3,413.27.
After the bell, shares of Groupon (GRPN.O) jumped 11.5 percent to $6.23 after the world's largest daily deal company reported a stronger-than-expected quarterly profit.
Shares of New Corp (NWSA.O) rose 3.6 percent to $33 in after-hours trading following the release of the last quarterly results for Rupert Murdoch's company before its entertainment and publishing businesses are separated.
During the session, the Dow also reached an all-time intraday high of 15,106.81 and the S&P 500 set a record intraday high of 1,632.78.
The S&P 500 has climbed 14.5 percent so far this year, while the Dow has advanced 15.3 percent and the Nasdaq has gained 13 percent.
Despite the gains, the market remains below overbought territory, with the relative strength index on the S&P 500 slightly below 70.
Still, the potential for the market to pause increases as the earnings reporting period winds down, said Bruce Zaro, chief technical strategist at Delta Global Asset Management in Boston.
"Now that earnings are over and done ... there's no real fundamental reason to buy stocks," he said.
Results are in from about 440 companies so far. Earnings have largely been better than expected this quarter, with the majority of companies surpassing estimates.
Some of the day's biggest movers were stocks cited by prominent investors at the Sohn Investment Conference, a hedge fund industry event in New York.
Shares of TW Telecom Inc (TWTC.O) and Level 3 Communications (LVLT.N) rallied after fund manager Keith Meister, managing partner and chief investment officer of Corvex Management, said they could be on par with industry heavyweights AT&T (T.N) and Verizon (VZ.N) in coming years.
TW Telecom ended up 5.8 percent at $28.77 while shares of Level 3 ended up 3.4 percent at $23.99.
Shares of some housing stocks rose after Steven Eisman, founder and portfolio manager of hedge fund Emrys Partners, L.P., said during the conference that he is positive on U.S. housing, but wary of Canada's housing market.
Among his picks were Lennar (LEN.N), which edged up 0.1 percent to $42.25, and Forestar Group (FOR.N), which gained 5.9 percent to $24.08.
Volume was roughly 6.2 billion shares traded on the New York Stock Exchange, the Nasdaq and the NYSE MKT, below the average daily closing volume of about 6.4 billion this year.
Advancers outpaced decliners on the NYSE by a ratio of nearly 2 to 1, while on the Nasdaq, seven stocks rose for every five that fell.
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