Stocks rose on Tuesday, continuing gains seen for most of the six trading days in 2012 as investors took an upbeat view on the fourth-quarter earnings season and embraced some upbeat economic news from France and China.
The Dow Jones industrial average closed at 12,462.47, up 69.78 points or 0.6 per cent. The broader S&P 500 closed at 1292.08, up 11.38 points or 0.9 per cent. In Canada, the S&P/TSX composite index closed at 12,270.66, up 73.94 points or 0.6 per cent.
The Chinese trade surplus fell in 2011 to its lowest level in years, suggesting to some observers that the country’s economy is becoming more balanced between export strength and domestic consumer demand. And in France, the country’s industrial production expanded at a 1.1 per cent clip in November, ahead of a slight contraction expected by economists and suggesting that fears of a sharp European recession might be overblown.
Alcoa Inc. triggered some early enthusiasm in the market after the aluminum producer reported on Monday evening earnings that were in line with expectations and revenues that beat the Street, raising hopes for the fourth-quarter reporting season. However, Alcoa gave back most of its gains, closing up just 0.2 per cent.
Meanwhile, the opinion on luxury items seems to be split. Jewellery retailer Tiffany & Co. plunged 10.5 per cent after it cut its full-year guidance, warning of weak holiday sales in Europe and North America. However, high-end yoga-wear retailer Lululemon Athletica Inc. surged 11.5 per cent, touching a new record high during the day, after it raised its guidance for the current quarter.
U.S. banks were strong, with Bank of America Corp. up 5.7 per cent and JPMorgan Chase & Co. up 2.1 per cent.
Commodity producers were also strong after the price of crude oil rose to $102.24 (U.S.) a barrel, up 93 cents, and gold rose to $1,631.50 an ounce, up $23.40. Suncor Energy Inc. rose 2.9 per cent and Barrick Gold Corp. rose 2.9 per cent.