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Better-than-expected quarterly results once again guided the S&P 500 and the Dow Jones into the green on Tuesday. Strong earnings created a positive sentiment, lifting the blue-chip index to its highest level in more than five years. The consumer confidence index for January declined to a new low in the past one year. The consumer discretionary sector was the only loser among the S&P industry groups, while the energy sector was the biggest gainer.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) gained 0.5% to close the day at 13,954.42. The S&P 500 increased 0.5% to finish yesterday’s trading session at 1,507.84. The tech-laden Nasdaq Composite Index slipped 0.02% to end at 3,153.66. The fear-gauge CBOE Volatility Index (VIX) decreased 1.9% to settle at 13.31. Consolidated volumes on the New York Stock Exchange, American Stock Exchange and Nasdaq were roughly 6.4 billion shares, marginally lower than the daily average of 6.45 billion shares in 2012. Advancing stocks outnumbered decliners on the NYSE; as for 59% stocks that rose, 38% moved down.
Shares of Pfizer Inc. (NYSE:PFE) surged 3.2% following its robust quarterly results. Earnings of the company increased four times from the year-ago period. The fourth quarter earnings jumped due to strong sales of its nutrition business along with cost cutting within the company. For fiscal 2013, the company has projected profit of $2.30 per share in anticipation of earning $1 billion a year from two of its newly introduced products. This forecast is higher than the Street’s estimates for fiscal 2013. Another drug making company, Eli Lilly & Co. (NYSE:LLY) posted strong quarterly earnings following which the shares rose 3.2%. The fourth quarter earnings surpassed the Street’s estimate.
Health Care SPDR (XLV) rose 1.1% following strong quarterly results from the health care sector. Stocks such as Abbott Laboratories (NYSE:ABT), Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ), Mylan Inc. (NASDAQ:MYL), Bristol Myers Squibb Co. (NYSE:BMY) and Merck & Co. Inc. (NYSE:MRK) gained 1.0%, 1.1%, 0.1%, 0.4% and 1.7%, respectively.
Refinery operator, Valero Energy Corporation (NYSE:VLO) posted strong fourth quarter results following which the shares jumped almost 12.8%. Valero registered profit of $1 billion, more than 20 times the year-ago profit and ahead of the Streets expectation. The company’s profits came on the back of high margins by exchanging foreign crude with low-priced domestic oil.
The energy sector enjoyed a decent gain and emerged as the biggest gainer among the S&P 500 industry groups. The Energy Select Sector SPDR (XLE) gained 1.6%. Stocks such as Exxon Mobil Corporation (NYSE:XOM), Chevron Corporation (NYSE:CVX), Marathon Oil Corporation (NYSE:MRO) and Hess Corp. (NYSE:HES) added 0.7%, 1.0%, 1.2% and 9.0%, respectively.
Separately, the S&P Dow Jones Indices released the S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices, which noted that home prices for the 10-City Composite and 20-City Composite slipped 0.2% and 0.1%, respectively in November. But for both 10-City Composite and 20-City Composite home prices have increased 4.5% and 5.5% annually. Home prices have increased annually in all 19 cities except New York from November 2011.
Meanwhile, the consumer confidence index declined in January to its lowest level since November 2011 due to the imposition of tax on American citizens and their skepticism in the US economy. According to the report, the consumer confidence index fell sharply to 58.6 in January from 66.7 in December. This was well below the consensus estimate of 65.1. The expectation index decreased to 59.5 from 68.1 while the present index declined to 57.3 in January from 64.6 in December.