Broad-based gains pushed the S&P 500 to its highest close in more than two months on Tuesday, as investors focused on data suggesting that producer price inflation was far weaker than had been expected.
The strongest advances were made in the technology sector. “The Nasdaq is oversold relative to most of the other indices,” said Paul Mendelsohn, chief investment strategist at Windham Financial Services. “The money wants to come into these stocks.”
Semiconductors were in particularly strong demand. The Philadelphia Semiconductor Index had its best day in more than six weeks. Nvidia surged 9.6 per cent to $25.52 and Broadcom rose 6.9 per cent to $27.91.
Dell added 4 per cent to $22.08, and Apple Computer rose 3.9 per cent to $66.45. Google added 3.1 per cent to $380.97.
Agilent Technologies, a maker of scientific equipment, jumped 9.3 per cent to $31.12 after it reported that profits in the fiscal third quarter had more than doubled, thanks to gains from selling assets.
Software maker CA surged after its quarterly results beat analysts’ estimates and it announced a $2bn stock buy-back programme. Its shares jumped 6.8 per cent to $23.24.
Juniper Networks gained 8.4 per cent to $13.49. The company said it would appeal against a decision by Nasdaq that it no longer met listing requirements on the exchange due to delays in releasing its quarterly financial report.
At the close, the S&P 500 was up 1.4 per cent, or 17.37 points, at 1,285.58, while the Nasdaq Composite was up 2.2 per cent, or 45.97 points, at 2,115.01. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 1.2 per cent, or 132.39 points, at 11,230.26.
Home improvement retailer Home Depot reported a modest rise in quarterly profits on Tuesday. Investors shrugged off lower quarterly sales guidance, and the company’s shares rose 3.6 per cent to $34.44.
Wal-Mart shed 1.2 per cent to $44.55 after it said second- quarter earnings fell 25 per cent because of costs associated with the sale of its German operations. The company also gave third-quarter earnings guidance at the lower end of analysts’ forecasts.
ExxonMobil was another stock that bucked the upward trend. Its shares dropped 0.8 per cent to $68.69 on news that it would be charged over an oil spill in Nova Scotia two years ago.
Barr Pharmaceuticals announced that quarterly earnings nearly doubled thanks to increased sales of its proprietary drugs as well as generic products. The better-than-expected results pushed shares up 6.8 per cent to $55.85.
Tribune, owner of the Chicago Cubs baseball team, ticked up 4.9 per cent to $31.24 on news that activist shareholder Nelson Peltz had bought a stake in the company.