Last updated: May 7, 2013 9:41 pm

Industrials help S&P 500 enter bull territory

US stocks climbed further into record territory, supported by upbeat corporate reports from leather goods retailer Fossil and upscale grocer Whole Foods Markets , which each raised its full-year earnings outlook.

After mixed trading in the morning session, the S&P 500 index closed near a session high and gained 0.5 per cent to 1,625.96.

The gains propelled the benchmark into a bull market territory, with the S&P 500 having notched a rise of more than 20 per cent from its low set last November.

Meanwhile, the Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 0.6 per cent to 15,056.20, closing above the landmark 15,000 for the first time.

Nine of the 10 sectors in the S&P 500 were higher trading with sectors more closely tied to the fortunes of the global economy outperforming.

The S&P 500 industrials and materials indices rose 0.9 per cent each. The information technology group was the only area in the red, down 0.2 per cent.

Shares in Fossil were among the day’s strongest risers, jumping 9 per cent to $107.88. The consumer retailer was buoyed by encouraging first-quarter results, which came in ahead of analysts’ forecasts.

Although the company offered soft guidance for its next quarter, investors were encouraged by signs that its full-year profit prospects had improved.

Reporting after the market closed, Whole Foods soared more than 9 per cent to $101.29 as it announced strong earnings. The grocer, which had risen 1.1 per cent to $92.80 during market trading, had been flat on the day before a large bout of buying in the final 15 minutes before its earnings were released. The company also

Microsoft shares fell 1.3 per cent to $33.31 after the Financial Times reported that the company was preparing to make significant changes to its latest operating system, saying that users found it difficult to master the software.

Apple , which had recently recovered from early year woes to set multi-week highs, fell 0.4 per cent to $458.69.

Declines in Apple weighed on the technology-heavy Nasdaq, which lagged behind the other indices and gained just 0.1 per cent to 3,396.63.

Disney , the world’s largest entertainment group, edged higher to $66.34 in after-market trading after it reported sales growth of 10 per cent in its most recent quarter. The company, which rose 1.6 per cent to $66.29 during the day’s trade, said its results were bolstered by strength from its film and amusement parks businesses.

Online retailers suffered a setback in their efforts to avoid US state taxes on their sales. A bill, which has been lobbied against by internet sites such as eBay, was passed by the Senate on Monday and could end tax-free online shopping.

The passage produced mixed results with eBay shares 0.3 per cent lower to $53.94 while Amazon was up 0.8 per cent to $257.73.

DirecTV earnings beat estimates, sending its shares up 6.9 per cent to $61.95 as the company reported strong subscriber growth in Latin America.

First Solar fell 8.9 per cent to $43.47, placing it among the day’s biggest fallers after first-quarter earnings disappointed. The disappointment for the solar panel manufacturer comes after a torrid start to the year, having risen almost 41 per cent in 2013.

Discovery Communications dropped 1.5 per cent to $77.87 after the company released first-quarter earnings that missed earnings-per-share targets.

Abercrombie & Fitch shares rose 6.3 per cent to $52.07 after the teenage clothing retailer received an upgrade from analysts at Goldman Sachs, as the investment bank changed its rating to “buy” from “hold” on its shares.

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