May 14, 2013 / 6:35 PM / in 5 years

US STOCKS-Wall Street jumps as banks lead S&P 500 to new high

* Dow and S&P 500 climb to new highs, banks rally

* Nokia’s U.S.-listed shares drop after company unveils new phone

* Dow up 0.6 pct, S&P 500 up 0.8 pct, Nasdaq up 0.6 pct

By Leah Schnurr

NEW YORK, May 14 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks rose to extend a recent rally on Tuesday, with the Dow Jones and the S&P 500 indexes hitting new intraday highs as investors bet that the market has momentum to it.

Growth-oriented stocks were among the day’s biggest advancers, with large-cap bank stocks leading the way. Bank of America, up 2.7 percent at $13.33, was the Dow’s biggest gainer, while Citigroup Inc rose 2.3 percent to $50.04.

Wall Street has climbed for the past three weeks. The S&P 500 is up almost 16 percent so far this year, propelled in large part by the Federal Reserve’s easy monetary policy, designed to stimulate the economy.

“The developed economies of the world are all easing aggressively, the money is looking for a home and it’s ending up in the stock markets,” said Bucky Hellwig, senior vice president at BB&T Wealth Management in Birmingham, Alabama.

There has been some debate in the market on when the Fed may start to rein in its bond purchase program, but for now investors are betting the central bank will be careful not to remove its support too soon, said Hellwig.

While some analysts expect the momentum in stocks to wane in the near term, as equities haven’t undergone a significant pullback this year, many say that the long-term trend remains positive as investors keep using any market decline as a buying opportunity.

The Dow Jones industrial average gained 88.32 points, or 0.59 percent, to 15,180.00. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index rose 13.20 points, or 0.81 percent, to 1,646.97. The Nasdaq Composite Index added 19.58 points, or 0.57 percent, to 3,458.37.

Earlier in the session, the Dow hit an all-time intraday high at 15,192.04, while the S&P 500 reached an all-time intraday high at 1,649.71.

The Dow’s gains were limited by weakness in Caterpillar Inc , down 1 percent at $87.18, and UnitedHealth Group , off 0.9 percent at $61.83.

The market had traded sideways for the past three sessions, showing a gain of just 0.07 percent as the winding down of the quarterly earnings season and a light economic calendar have left investors without a strong catalyst for further gains.

U.S.-listed shares of Sony Corp jumped 10.2 percent to $20.80 after billionaire hedge fund investor Daniel Loeb called on the company to spin off its lucrative entertainment arm.

Nokia Corp unveiled a new version of its Lumia smartphone line, but U.S.-listed shares fell 5.7 percent to $3.62. Research company Gartner said Nokia lost 5 percentage points of market share in the first quarter, falling to 14.8 percent.

Solar power companies’ shares fell on the day after Trina Solar Ltd estimated lower panel shipments than a previous outlook and said its results would be hurt by a foreign currency exchange loss. The stock fell 8.1 percent to $5.45 while Yingli Green Energy slid 4.8 percent to $2.40.

Most corporate earnings have been better than expected this quarter. With 90 percent of the S&P 500 companies having reported results so far, 67.2 percent have topped earnings expectations, according to Thomson Reuters data, which is even with the average over the past four quarters. However, only 46.9 percent have beaten revenue expectations, below the 52 percent average over the past four quarters.

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