Stocks rise to record highs; Dow tops 15,000

MarketWatchMay 8, 2013 

NEW YORK -- U.S. stocks rose on Tuesday, with the Dow industrials closing above 15,000 for the first time, after Australia cut its refinancing rate and satellite-TV provider DirecTV and watch maker Fossil Inc. reported improved earnings.

Wall Street's extended record run comes amid a bull market that started a fifth year in March. U.S. equities have been supported by the Federal Reserve's three rounds of Treasury purchases as well as by corporate America's record profits.

The Dow industrials climbed 87.31 points to 15,056.20.

After closing at records the prior three sessions, the Standard & Poor's 500 index on Tuesday extended that run, rising 8.46 points to 1,625.96.

The index started out the session up 13.68 percent on the year, the best start through 87 trading days since 1991, noted analysts at Bespoke Investment Group.

Fossil Inc. shares were among the leading risers, up about 9 percent, and First Solar Inc. was hardest hit, retreating about the same amount.

Fossil gained after the seller of watches and handbags reported strong sales and better-than-expected earnings for the first quarter.

First Solar shares declined a day after the energy provider reported disappointing earnings.

Shares of DirecTV climbed 6.9 percent after the provider of satellite-television services reported earnings above analysts' expectations.

Eighty-five percent, or 423 companies of the S&P 500, have reported first-quarter earnings, with 67.4 percent beating, 9.2 percent meeting and 23.4 percent missing expectations, according to Thomson Reuters. But 53.9 percent of those companies have missed and 46.1 percent have beat revenue estimates, said Thomson Reuters cor

porate earnings research analyst Greg Harrison.

The Nasdaq composite advanced 3.66 points to 3,396.63.

Energy prices fell, with crude-oil futures for June delivery off 54 cents to end at $95.62 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

Gold prices declined on signs of reduced demand, with futures for June delivery down $19.20 to finish the floor session at $1,448.80 an ounce on the Comex in New York.

The 10-year Treasury note yield rose to 1.78 percent.

"As the yield moves higher as investors shift out of bonds into stocks, it will help bank profits as net-interest margins expand," wrote Nick Raich, chief executive officer at The Earnings Scout.

"More profitable banks lead to more lending and this is exactly what" global central banks want, Raich said in emailed commentary.

Bloomberg News reported that billionaire hedge-fund manager John Paulson lost 27 percent in his Gold Fund last month, with the news service citing a person familiar with the matter.

The U.S. Labor Department on Tuesday reported job openings fell to 3.84 million in March from 3.9 million in February, with the report supporting "more rather than less Fed easing," said Dan Greenhaus, chief global strategist at BTIG LLC.

The government's nonfarm-payrolls report released Friday illustrated a steep increase in hiring in April, and helped propel the Dow industrials above 15,000 for the first time, although the level was not sustained through the close.

While the market applauded the jobs report, not all asset managers were impressed with the addition of 165,000 jobs in April. The U.S. economy should be generating many more jobs this far into a recovery than the 169,000 it has been averaging a month, said Neil Dwane, European chief investment officer for Allianz Global Investors.

A counter view comes from Robert Stein, senior managing director of Astor Asset Management. "It's still better than losing 500,000 jobs a month, which is what we were doing after the financial crisis," he said. "People need to learn the difference between a positive and negative sign."

"We have 7.5 percent unemployment, I get it, but we're not at 17 percent," said Stein in urging more perspective on the healing involved after the near meltdown of the U.S. banking system, which led to a global recession starting in 2008.

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