NEW YORK -- The Standard & Poor's 500 Index erased losses for 2015, closing Tuesday above a level where previous rallies fizzled out this year, as companies from Coca-Cola to General Motors surged and optimism grew over Greece talks.
Coke gained 2.8 percent as profit benefited from cost- cutting efforts, while GM rose 4.2 percent on buyback speculation. Apple climbed to an all-time high, with its market capitalization closing above $700 billion for the first time. Health-care and utility stocks rebounded after falling at least 0.9 percent Monday.
The S&P 500 climbed 1.1 percent to 2,068.59 at 4 p.m. in New York, the highest level since Dec. 30. The gauge is 1.1 percent away from its all-time high. The Dow Jones industrial average added 139.55 points, or 0.8 percent, to 17,868.76. The Nasdaq 100 index rallied 1.5 percent to the highest since December. About 6.6 billion shares changed hands on U.S. exchanges Tuesday, 3.6 percent below the three-month average.
"You're seeing a continuation of the short-term momentum we experienced for most of last week," Joe Bell, a Cincinnati- based senior equity analyst at Schaeffer's Investment Research, said in a phone interview. "We've been pretty choppy throughout most of 2015 -- a lot of volatility but not a lot of net direction. You had some positive news out of Greece. Most people expect that somehow, someway there will be some sort of settlement."
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to the Bradenton Herald
Since the start of the year, three separate advances in the benchmark gauge have fizzled out just above 2,060, data compiled by Bloomberg show.
U.S. stocks have traded for the last two months in one of the tightest ranges since 2007, marked by a record high of 2,090.57 and Dec. 16 low of 1,972.74. Even as swings in the index become more violent, the gauge failed to break out, rising above then falling below its 50-day average four times since December.
The Chicago Board Options Exchange volatility index fell 7.1 percent to 17.23. The gauge, know as the VIX, fell more than 17 percent last week.
"We had a breakout here recently,"
Walter "Bucky" Hellwig, who helps manage $17 billion at BB&T Wealth Management in Birmingham, Ala., said in a phone interview. "In addition to the favorable fundamentals that are pulling investor dollars into the market from a trading standpoint, the turnaround we saw has brought in some high-frequency momentum trading."
Equities rose early in the day as speculation grew that Greece will reach an agreement at a Feb. 11 emergency meeting of euro-area finance ministers in Brussels. U.S. and European stocks briefly pared gains after German Financial Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said reports that Greece would get six months to work out a debt deal are "wrong."
Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis told lawmakers on Monday the country will implement about 70 percent of reforms already included in the current bailout accord. He is also seeking support for a bridge funding plan.
"If this Greece compromise comes about, that will be a clear positive," Stephen Carl, principal and head equity trader at New York-based Williams Capital Group, said in a phone interview. "On the domestic front, you have some nice moves on earnings like Coca-Cola."
Eighteen S&P 500 companies were to release quarterly results Tuesday. PepsiCo, Time Warner and Kraft Foods Group follow later this week. About two-thirds of the S&P 500 companies have reported results so far, with 77 percent beating profit estimates and 56 percent topping sales projections, data compiled by Bloomberg show.