S&P 500 Jumps to Record High on Improving Consumer Confidence

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Stocks rose Tuesday with the S&P 500 hitting a record closing high amid a raft of positive economic data, including rising consumer confidence and service sector expansion. 

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.42% to 16,675.50, while the S&P 500 closed up 0.6% to 1,911.91. The Nasdaq jumped 1.22% to 4,237.07.



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European Central Bank President Mario Draghi said the body was aware of risks linked to long periods of ultra-low inflation, but confident the ECB had the means to nudge consumer-price growth higher. There is rising speculation the ECB will cut rates and use other stimulus measures when it meets June 5.

  • The U.S. services sector expanded at its fastest rate in May since March 2012 as new job creation accelerated. Markit said its flash services Purchasing Managers Index hit 58.4 in May after April's reading of 55.
  • The Conference Board's Consumer Confidence Index rose moderately in May to 83.0, up from 81.7 in April. The proportion of consumers expecting their incomes to grow over the next six months was 20.2%, the highest reading since December 2007.
  • The S&P/Case-Shiller composite index of 20 metropolitan areas rose 0.9% in March from 0.8% in the prior month. From a year earlier, the index rose 12.4% -- the smallest annual gain since July.
  • U.S. house prices rose 1.3% in the first quarter as severe weather affected transaction activity, according to the Federal Housing Finance Agency House Price Index.
  • U.S. durable goods rose 0.8% in April, blowing past an expected 0.5% decline. Non-defense capital good orders excluding the aircraft component fell 1.2%.
  • "Economic data will continue to be the focus of attention as investors attempt to gauge the tone of the recovery to assess whether the pick-up in U.S. growth momentum is being sustained," noted TD Securities' U.S. research and strategy deputy head, Millan Mulraine.
  • President Obama is close to approving U.S. military to train Syrian rebels to fight Bashar al-Assad's regime and al Qaeda-linked groups -- a move that would raise America's role in the conflict.
  • Several pro-Russian separatists were killed by government forces at a key regional Ukraine airport. Pro-Europe baron Petro Poroshenko was elected Ukraine's new president on Sunday.
  • In international markets, Germany's DAX closed 0.49% higher while the FTSE gained 0.43%. The Hang Seng closed down 0.08% while the Nikkei was 0.23% higher.
  • Staples (SPLS) was 2% lower after Goldman Sachs cut its rating on the stock to sell from neutral, noting company investments would offset benefits of closing stores and cutting costs.
  • AutoZone (AZO) dropped 2.9% despite narrowly topping quarterly earnings estimates by a penny at $8.46 a share.
  • Hillshire Brands (HSH) surged 22.1% after Pilgrim's Pride (PPC) proposed to buy Hillshire for $45 a share in cash in a transaction valued at $6.4 billion.
  • Pfizer (PFE) increased 0.37% after pulling the plug on a takeover of British drugmaker AstraZeneca (AZN), in what would have been the largest deal in the pharmaceutical industry's history.
  • IntercontinentalExchange Group (ICE) climbed 2.5% after it said it would spin off its European stock market operator Euronext through an initial public offering in coming weeks.
  • U.S. stocks gained Friday, with the S&P 500 closing above 1,900 for the first time ever after stronger-than-expected new home sales in April provided further evidence of a housing recovery.

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-- By Jane Searle, Andrea Tse and Joe Deaux in New York

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