S&P 500 scores first close above 2,000; data helps
Energy shares, which closely track the pace of growth, led the day's gain. The S&P energy index rose 0.5 percent and ranked as the best performer of the 10 major S&P sectors.
The S&P 500 hit an intraday high of 2,005.04, climbing above the 2,000 mark for the second straight day. On Monday, though, the benchmark could not hold on to that mark and ended at 1,997.92. With Tuesday's move, both the Dow and the S&P 500 have risen in 10 of the past 13 sessions, while the Nasdaq is up for 11 of the past 13 sessions.
However, much of the market's recent gains have come on low volume, suggesting that many traders may be reluctant to jump in at current levels.
US consumer confidence rose more than expected in August, climbing to its highest since October 2007, according to the Conference Board, an industry group. The Commerce Department reported that US durable goods orders jumped 22.6 percent in July, the biggest gain on record, though the number was skewed by strong international demand for aircraft.
The Dow Jones industrial average rose 29.83 points or 0.17 percent, to end at 17,106.70. The S&P 500 gained 2.10 points or 0.11 percent, to close at 2,000.02, a record high. The Nasdaq Composite added 13.29 points or 0.29 percent, to finish at 4,570.64.
The Dow industrials had touched a record intraday high of 17,153.80 during Tuesday's session.
Best Buy Co Inc shares slid 6.9 percent to $29.80 after the electronics retailer reported second-quarter revenue that missed expectations and forecast a drop in same-store sales in the second half of the year. But DSW Inc jumped 9.2 percent to $30.99 after the shoe and accessory retailer's adjusted quarterly earnings topped forecasts.
Volume was light, with about 4.25 billion shares traded on US exchanges, well below the 5.44 billion average so far this month, according to data from BATS Global Markets.
Advancing stocks outnumbered declining ones by a ratio of about 2 to 1 on both the New York Stock Exchange and the Nasdaq.
Meanwhile, Japan's Nikkei share average fell today, in thin trade as profit-taking accelerated in late trade after the weak yen trend paused, taking a toll on exporters and index-heavyweight stocks such as Honda Motor Co and SoftBank Corp.
The Nikkei shed 0.6 percent to 15,521.22.
The dollar dipped 0.1 percent to 103.92 yen, having peaked at a seven-month high of 104.49 overnight.
The broader Topix dropped 0.5 percent to 1,285.01, with only 1.82 billion shares changing hands. The JPX-Nikkei Index 400 weakened 0.5 percent to 11,687.62.