NEW YORK (
) -- Stocks closed higher Tuesday, again touching year highs, after hanging near the flat line most of the day. The market digested a mix of builder confidence figures, wholesale price data, factory numbers and retail earnings.
Dow Jones Industrial Average
gained 30 points, or 0.3%, to 10,437. The
advanced 1 point, or 0.1%, to 1110, as the
added 6 points to 2204.
The market drifted on Tuesday after the major indices surged the day before. Dollar weakness on Monday helped buoy gains in commodities and related stocks, basic materials and large cap multinationals. But one analyst found an up note with the Dollar Index strengthening on Tuesday and equities and commodities holding steady.
"A day like today is extremely positive following a surge like we had on Monday that was so specifically related to the decline in the dollar," says Marc Pado, U.S. market strategist at Cantor Fitzgerald. "You come in to today, and the dollar gains back all that it lost plus a little more and the market doesn't give it back. That, I think is very telling. You can reverse the dollar side of the trade but you don't get the downside. We're not seeing the gains taken away when the catalysts for the gain are taken away."
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Crude oil settled at $79.14 after gaining 24 cents. Gold settled at $1,139.40 an ounce after adding 20 cents.
were the leading percentage gainers on the Dow, adding 1.9% and 1.4% each.
A collage of economic figures kept stocks subdued throughout the morning and early afternoon. The Housing Market Index stayed flat at 17 in November from the downwardly revised number in October.
The National Association of Home Builders added that many survey responses were received before the first-time home buyer tax credit was extended by Congress. Though the November measure just missed forecasts, the portion measuring sales expectations for the next six months rose by two points.
statistics offered a view of the manufacturing sector in the morning, showing that industrial production rose for the fourth month in a row. Still, the figure flopped somewhat, as industrial production ticked up just 0.1% in October, down from a 0.6% advance in September and just down from analysts' expectations for a 0.4% rise.
Total capacity utilization for the industry moved 0.2% higher from the previous month to 70.7% in October vs. a 70.8% estimate.
In a more positive sign, wholesale inflation appeared subdued in October, according to a report from the Commerce Department. The government's producer price index rose by a less-than-expected 0.3% in October. Economists forecast the wholesale inflation measure to advance by 0.5% after it declined 0.6% in September. Core PPI, which strips out food and energy prices, fell 0.6% vs. a forecast for a slight 0.1% rise.
Despite missing expectations on some fronts in the morning, one analyst believes the measured reaction leading to the modest pullback in the morning made sense.
"I think it's not a major, major disappointment," says Art Hogan, chief market strategist at Jefferies, of the economic data. "It's just a minor disappointment."
"The PPI is just a little lighter then we'd like to see in the headline," adds Hogan. "We're still not seeing that inflation is driving part of this trade. The industrial production and capacity utilization numbers are just a little lighter than anticipated, but it's still in positive territory.
"I think it's important to remember, an increase is an increase whether it's 0.1% or 0.4%," he continued. "Capacity utilization is down a tick, but still above 70, so that's good news. In general, I think you have to look at the economic data as a benign event."
Elsewhere, the Treasury Department said net long-term TIC flows in September grew to $40.7 billion from an upwardly revised $34.2 billion the month prior.
Retail earnings were front and center again on Tuesday, though cautious statements from some had shares trading lower despite beating expectations.
, a Dow component,
to $689 million, or 41 cents a share. Sales dropped 8% to $16.4 billion, with CEO Frank Blank noting that there is "still a great deal of pressure" in housing.
Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters expected the home-improvement chain to show earnings of 36 cents a share along with revenue of $16.28 billion. But shares were bid lower by 66 cents, or 2.4%, to $26.99 after the company's implied fourth-quarter outlook fell below expectations.
Shares for both
fell despite beating profit forecasts in morning earnings reports. But Target also cautioned about the holiday season.
In the upscale-retail segment,
defied the down retailer trend as shares were bid higher by more than 4%. In the morning, Saks said it swung to a surprise profit, earning $1.9 million, or 1 cent a share vs. estimates for an 11-cent loss.
Overseas, Hong Kong's Hang Seng slid 0.1% and Japan's Nikkei dipped 0.6%. The FTSE in London declined 0.7%, as the DAX in Frankfurt went lower by 0.5%.
--Written by Sung Moss in New York