Closing Bell: S&P Sets Another Record on Hopes of Continued Fed Stimulus

Wall Street (Specialist Brian Egan, background center, works with traders at his post on the floor of the New York Stock Exchang
Richard Drew/AP

The prospect of more economic stimulus from the Federal Reserve and upbeat corporate earnings pushed the S&P 500 further into record territory Tuesday.

The Standard & Poor's 500 index (^GPSC) gained 10 points, or 0.6 percent, to 1,754, after reaching as high as 1,759 earlier in the session. The Dow Jones industrial average (^DJI) rose 75 points, or 0.5 percent, to 15,467, and the Nasdaq composite index (^IXIC) 9 points, or 0.4 percent, at 3,929.

The U.S. economy added 148,000 jobs in September, the Labor Department said. That suggests employers held back on hiring before a 16-day partial government shutdown began Oct. 1. Economist surveyed by data provider FactSet had predicted 180,000 jobs would be added.

September's job report was delayed 2½ weeks because of the shutdown, which may have further depressed economic growth and hiring. Analysts are also expecting the coming October's job report to be weak because of the impact of the shutdown and that means the Fed is unlikely to stop its stimulus effort anytime soon.

The Federal Reserve has been buying $85 billion of bonds a month to keep long-term interest rates low and spur economic growth. The central bank's stimulus has been a key support for a 4½-year rally in stocks.

Apple (AAPL) unveiled a new, thinner, lighter tablet called the "iPad Air" along with a slew of new Macs ahead of the holiday shopping season. %VIRTUAL-article-sponsoredlinks%The company also said that its latest computer operating system, Mavericks, is available free of charge. The Cupertino, Calif., company made the announcements Tuesday at an event in San Francisco. The iPad Air will go on sale Nov. 1 and start at $499, while the iPad 2 will continue selling at $399. A new iPad Mini, meanwhile, will be available later in November starting at $399 for a 16-gigabyte model.

The housing sector rebounded after a slump Monday on a report showed that Americans bought fewer previously occupied homes in September than the previous month, held back by higher mortgage rates and rising prices. Stocks of homebuilders rose. KB Home (KBH) rose 3.7 percent to $17.18, D.R. Horton (DHI) climbed 3 percent to $19.23 and Toll Brothers (TOL) added 2.5 percent to $32.65.

In commodities trading, oil fell further following losses Monday. Benchmark crude for December delivery slipped $1.63, or 1.6 percent, to $97.59. Meanwhile, gold picked up $26.80, or 2 percent, to end at a 3-week high of $1,342.50

In other corporate news, (AMZN) raised the minimum order size needed for free shipping to $35 from $25. The change, made Monday, comes ahead of the busy holiday shopping season. It also comes after (WMT) made a similar change earlier this month.

Netflix shares fell 9.2 percent to $332.52, reversing the rise that followed the release of the company's earnings report Monday. Volume in the stock spiked as it fell into negative territory on the day. With more than 17 million shares traded, volume was nearly six times the average over the last 50 days.

More Stocks in the News:

  • Whirlpool (WHR) rose 11.6 percent to $146.19 after the company said its third-quarter net income more than doubled, benefiting from some tax credits as consumer demand for its appliances continues to build amid the housing recovery.

  • Delta Air Lines (DAL) gained 3.2 percent to $25.49. The airline made more than a billion dollars in the third quarter as more passengers paid a little bit extra to fly. Delta also said it was seeing strong holiday bookings.

  • Kimberly-Clark (KMB) ticked up 4.2 percent to $102.97 after the maker of Kleenex tissues and Huggies diapers said its third-quarter net income rose 6 percent.

  • Coach (COH) fell 7.5 percent to $50.10 after the maker of luxury handbags and accessories said its net income fell 2 percent in its fiscal first quarter as the company dealt with weaker sales in North America. The earnings fell short of analyst expectations.

  • Transocean (RIG) shares rose 6 percent to $49.35 after S&P Dow Jones Indices announced the drilling services company will replace Dell (DELL) on the S&P 500 index after the close of trading next Monday.

  • Shares of cloud software maker VMware (VMW) rose 2.8 percent to $85, a day after it reported a higher-than-expected quarterly profit.

  • Annie's (BNNY) dropped 8.3 percent to $47.53 after the natural and organic food maker said it now foresees its fiscal 2014 adjusted earnings coming in at the lower end of its forecast.

  • Cardiovascular Systems (CSII) soared 17.7 percent to $26.75 after the company said the Food and Drug Administration granted the company approval to market its Diamondback 360 coronary atherectomy system as a treatment for severely calcified coronary arteries.

  • QEP Resources rose to its highest point in more than a year after activist hedge fund disclosed a stake in the oil and gas company and said that it would seek QEP's breakup. QEP (QEP) shares rose 5.8 percent to $32.90, after reaching an intraday high of $34.13.

What to Watch Wednesday:

  • The Labor Department reports import and export prices for September at 8:30 a.m. Eastern time.

  • The Federal Housing Finance Agency releases its house price index for August at 9 a.m.

These major companies are scheduled to report quarterly corporate earnings:

  • AT&T (T)

  • Boeing (BA)

  • Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMY)

  • Caterpillar (T)

  • Eli Lilly (LLY)

  • Norfolk Southern (NSC)

  • WellPoint (WLP)

  • US Airways Group (LCC)

-Compiled from staff and wire reports.