Stocks held on to gains as the Federal Reserve left its key lending rate unchanged and on better-than-expected news from economic reports on housing starts and import prices.
The S&P500 continued its gains, finishing 8.95 points up for a 17-month high set in October 2008 of 1,159.46. The Dow Jones Industrial Average continued its sixth-consecutive daily gain, ending up 43.83 points at 10,685.98. The technology-heavy NASDAQ rose 15.80 points to 2,378.01.
The market stayed relatively flat during morning trading, but financial stocks got an immediate boost following the Fed's decision to keep key fund rates from zero to 0.25% for the immediate future.
The following is a round-up of the most active, gainers and losers from Tuesday's trading session:
Discover Financial Services (DFS), after the market closed, reported a narrower net loss for the first quarter of 2010 of $104 million, compared to $120 million the first quarter of 2009. The stock slipped 1% in after-hours trading.
Exxon Mobil (XOM), one of the most active stocks, finished up 0.4% or 27 cents, after antitrust regulators approved the company's planned merger with natural gas producer XTO Energy (XTO).
Intel (INTC), rose 4%, or 84 cents, in trading that was almost double its 30-day average volume, following the launch of its new Xeon chip.
Citigroup (C) and Bank of America (BAC) led the financial stocks on news of the Fed's decision to leave interest rates alone. Citigroup finished up 4.1%, or 16 cents, and Bank of America inched up 1.1%.
Harley Davidson (HOG) surged 7%, or $1.85, on unconfirmed reports that the motorcycle maker could be the target of a leveraged buyout.
American International Group (AIG) slipped 2.1%, or 71 cents, on news that it closed a secondary public offering of Transatlantic Holdings Inc. (TRH) for about $452 million.
Boston Scientific (BSX) rebounded Tuesday 4.3%, or 29 cents, after reporting that it received approval for a new stent product. On Monday shares fell 16 percent after the medical device maker halted shipments and recalled its heart defibrillators, saying it had failed to inform the FDA about manufacturing changes.
Microsoft (MSFT) added a quarter percent on speculation that it may expand into the search engine market in China, following Google's (GOOG) news that it may exit that market.
Wal-Mart (WMT) extended its gain by 1%, or 57 cents, following an analyst upgrade this week to "buy" from "hold."
General Electric (GE), a bellwether of the market, increased by 4.5%, or 78 cents, after it announced it would raise dividends.
Limited Brands (LTD) added 4.2%, or $1, after the women's apparel and personal products retailer reported a special dividend and stock-buyback program.
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