Tech stocks led the way, guided by Microsoft Corp.’s (MSFT) 3.99 percent gain for a closing price of $29.73, followed by Intel Corp. (INTC), up 3.32 percent to $21.79. Cisco Systems (CSCO), Hewlett-Packard (HPQ), and AT&T (T) were also among the Dow’s best performers.
Aerospace and defense giant Boeing (BA) received a small bump of 0.58 percent to close at $87.52, after the company announced the return of it problem-plagued 787 Dreamliner as early as next month. Boeing also announced a $1 billion investment to expand its South Carolina 787 factory, in the way of a similar announcement yesterday from its major rival Airbus regarding the opening of its first U.S. factory in Alabama.
The S&P 500 moved to within points of its all-time high during the day, hitting 1,573.89 before pulling back to 1,568.61, a gain of 0.35 percent, led by First Solar Inc. (FSLR), whose shares almost doubled (up 45.53 percent) to $39.35 after the company announced guidance figures for the rest of the year of between $4 and $4.50 per share earnings that were well in excess of analyst forecasts of $3.51 per share. The company’s share price seems to have benefited from the effects of a short-squeeze, as well as Monday evening rumors that Warren Buffet was looking in to an acquisition of First Solar’s beleaguered Chinese rival Suntech Power (STP).
Tech stocks also figured heavily into the S&P’s rally, with Microsoft, Intel, Seagate Technology (STX), and Western Digital (WDC) all recording gains of 3 percent or higher. Meanwhile services provided the downward pressure, headed by J.C. Penney (JCP), whose shares dropped over 12 percent to close the day at $13.93, after the company forced the resignation of Ron Johnson on Monday and replaced him with former CEO Mike Ullman.
Darden Restaurants (DRI), Abercrombie & Fitch (ANF), Dollar Tree (DLTR) and CarMax Inc. (KMX) all posted losses between 1.5 and 3 percent.
The Nasdaq closed up 0.48 percent to 3,237.86, with certain health care stocks doing particularly well: Sarepta Therapeutics (SRPT) up 11.16 percent to $39.85, Repros Therapeutics (RPRX) up 6.53 percent to $16.32, and Magellan Health Services (MGLN) up 2.75 percent to $51.20.