After Market: Stocks End Holiday-Shortened Trading Session Ho-Ho-Higher

new york stock exchange closes early christmas holiday market report
Stan Honda, AFP/Getty ImagesPassersby in front of the New York Stock Exchange on Tuesday, Christmas Eve.
By KEN SWEET

NEW YORK -- Stocks rose in a holiday-shortened trading day Tuesday, helped by a report that showed American companies were investing in their businesses at the fastest pace since January.

Markets were open for just half a day ahead of the Christmas holiday, and trading volume was extremely light. Roughly 1.3 billion shares changed hands on the New York Stock Exchange, a third of what is traded on a regular day. It was the slowest day of the year.

Materials and industrial stocks rose more than the rest of the market after the government reported that orders for long-lasting manufactured products rose 3.5 percent in November, more than economists expected. Core capital goods, a category that tracks business investment, jumped 4.5 percent, the biggest gain since January.

DuPont (DD) rose $1.09, or 2 percent, to $63.83 and construction equipment maker Caterpillar (CAT) gained 95 cents, or 1 percent, to $90.91.

The Dow Jones industrial average (^DJI) rose 62.94 points, or 0.4 percent, to 16,357.55. The Standard & Poor's 500 index (^GPSC) rose 5.33 points, or 0.3 percent, to 1,833.32 and the Nasdaq composite (^IXIC) rose 6.51 points, or 0.2 percent, to 4,155.42.

Stocks have been rising steadily since last Wednesday, when the Federal Reserve surprised investors by announcing it was cutting back its bond-buying program,
citing an improving economy. The Fed said it will reduce its bond purchases to $75 billion a month beginning in January, down from $85 billion.

The last five days of gains have added to what has been a historic year for stock market investors. The S&P 500 index is up 28.6 percent for 2013, or 30.9 when dividends are included, its best year since 1997.

With four trading days left in the year, many traders expect stocks to continue higher until New Year's Eve.

"Nothing has derailed this market this year, even with all the bad headlines of 2013," said Jonathan Corpina, a New York Stock Exchange floor trader with Meridian Equity Partners. "We still have end-of-the-year cash coming in."

Few investors expect stocks to continue to rise at this pace through 2014. On average, market strategists with the major investment banks expect the S&P 500 to rise to 1,900 by the end of 2014, barely above where the index is trading at now.

"It's basically been a straight line up for the last couple years and, as the saying goes, the bigger they are the harder they fall," said Uri Landesman, president of the hedge fund Platinum Partners. Landesman said he also expects 2014 to more volatile for the stock market.

Homebuilder stocks rose after the government reported that new home sales rose at a faster pace than analysts were expecting last month. Beazer Homes (BZH) rose 62 cents, or 3 percent, to $24.03 and D.R. Horton (DHI) rose 16 cents, or 0.8 percent, to $21.29.

Bond prices fell on the latest positive news on the U.S. economy. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note, a benchmark for many kinds of loans including home mortgages, rose to 2.99 percent from 2.93 percent the day before.

In other corporate news, Tesla Motors (TSLA) jumped $7.70, or 5 percent, to $151.25. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration kept its 5-star safety rating on the company's Model S sedan, despite recent reports of battery-related fires. There have been no reported injuries or deaths related to any Tesla car fires.

What to Watch Wednesday:
  • Stock and bond markets are closed for Christmas Day.

Increase your money and finance knowledge from home

Portfolio Basics

What are stocks? Learn how to start investing.

View Course »

Investing Like Warren Buffett

Learn from one of the world's best investors.

View Course »

Add a Comment

*0 / 3000 Character Maximum

6 Comments

Filter by:
k4jlp

I'm so happy you traitors (I mean traders) made some bucks off of your trading software. That will help us SO much when I pull the first 3000 out of my pocket for health care AND help SO much with the inflated cost of the fuel I need to drive to work and with the inflated cost of food and clothes due to the inflated cost of energy. Have a good Christmas!

December 25 2013 at 8:01 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
krazyclownz

Call me Krazy but I think S&P 500 is going to mean the price of the S&P .....time will tell......Krazy as this may sound I've been shorting the whole rally and will continue....1900? Sure....more opportunity for the trade of a decade. In my Krazy opinion

December 25 2013 at 4:11 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
betty_brock

MERRY CHRISTMAS and God bless.

December 24 2013 at 8:26 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
savannahswithgod

Great I knew the Economy was going to turn around! Soon to be able to eat again and live inside out of the elements. What's that you say doc, I'm dying of Frostbite and Malnutrition. Thanks Doc, just take my shoes if you want since I got no money for Obamacare or the penalty for not having it. I think Obama has some shoes so he won't need them.

December 24 2013 at 3:59 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
TINKDAY

What's new, very bad economy and getting worse for the vast majority of us, but that's okay Bill Gates made 37 billion from a controlled and manipulated stock market, lets look at how much wealth the top 1 percent has made over the last 3 years and than lets look at how much in wealth the middle class has lost and continues to lose. The wealth of this country continues to increase at a fantastic rate for the top and continues to erode as fast for the rest of us.

December 24 2013 at 3:37 PM Report abuse -4 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to TINKDAY's comment
savannahswithgod

I wonder where the Rich came up with the plan if some do survive and most don't how it makes a Great Country or a Great System? TINKDAY good luck to you out there, I know I need it as most I'm sure do. Guess we just didn't work hard enough or get in with the right group of investors?

December 24 2013 at 4:02 PM Report abuse -2 rate up rate down Reply