US STOCKS-Dow pops back up above 16,000; Home Depot up on results

Tue Nov 19, 2013 12:31pm EST

* Home Depot shares rise as housing recovery boosts results

* Best Buy swings to a profit, but stock drops on margin concerns

* Trina Solar posts profit after string of losses, shares climb

* Dow up 0.2 pct, S&P up 0.02 pct, Nasdaq up 0.04 pct

By Caroline Valetkevitch

NEW YORK, Nov 19 (Reuters) - The Dow Jones industrial average climbed above 16,000 for a second day, bolstered by a rally in Home Depot shares after stronger-than-expected earnings.

A recovery in the U.S. housing market helped Home Depot top profit and sales estimates for the third quarter, prompting the No. 1 home improvement chain to raise its fiscal-year outlook for the third time this year. Its stock hit a lifetime high at $82.25. At midday, Home Depot was up 1.7 percent at $81, supporting the Dow and the S&P 500.

The major indexes continued to face resistance at key levels a day after the Dow traded above 16,000 and the S&P 500 topped 1,800 for the first time. Both indexes were unable to hold those levels at Monday's close.

Markets are seen trading in a tight range as investors wait for further clues from the Federal Reserve on how soon it may begin reducing its stimulus program.

"I'd say there's a very low probability the Fed does anything between now and the end of the year," said Dan Veru, chief investment officer of Palisade Capital Management, which has $4.5 billion in assets and is based in Fort Lee, New Jersey.

"I think we're going to be sort of this drift-up market between now and the end of the year. If you're not in the market, you're looking for any modest pullback to get in. There just is a lot of cash and a lot of managers that are underperforming because they've been perhaps too cautious."

The Fed's stimulus and ultra-low interest-rate policy have helped the S&P 500 gain more than 25 percent so far in 2013, which would make it the best year for the index in a decade.

The Dow Jones industrial average was up 26.26 points, or 0.16 percent, at 16,002.28. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index was up 0.43 of a point, or 0.02 percent, at 1,791.96. The Nasdaq Composite Index was up 1.59 points, or 0.04 percent, at 3,950.66.

Investors will look for any changes in tone from the Fed as Chicago Fed President Charles Evans speaks on current economic conditions and monetary policy at 2:15 p.m. EST (1915 GMT) and Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke speaks on "Communication and Monetary Policy" at 7 p.m. (0000 GMT).

On Wednesday, minutes from the Fed's October meeting are scheduled to be released.

Among the day's drags, Best Buy reported a quarterly profit, reversing a year-ago loss, boosted by tight cost controls. But there was also concern about pressure on margins during the holiday season and the stock fell 8.4 percent to $39.90.

At Monday's close, Best Buy was up 268 percent so far this year, among the S&P 500's top percentage gainers for the year. Consumer discretionary companies as a group have outperformed the broader market.

Trina Solar Ltd posted a profit after eight quarters of losses as solar panel prices held steady after a four-year decline and the company cut manufacturing costs, driving its stock up 2.1 percent $16.53. That gain extended the stock's jump of more than 10 percent in pre-market trading.

Tesla Motors shares reversed a pre-market loss to rise 4.9 percent to $127.59. U.S. traffic safety regulators launched an investigation into the luxury electric sports car maker's Model S sedan after three car fires in six weeks. At Monday's close, the stock was down 24 percent in November so far.

A couple walks along the rough surf during sunset at Oahu's North Shore, December 26, 2013. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

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