U.S. stocks opened slightly lower on Tuesday in a pre-holiday shortened session, as investors awaited data on factory orders for more clues on the health of the nation's economy. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 11 points to 12,859. The S&P 500 index dropped nearly a point to 1,364 while the Nasdaq Composite gained marginally to 2,951. A quiet start to the day, but it didn't take long for the bulls to come back in. The price of oil is shooting higher helping lift the energy sector. Hess and Transocean are both up over 3%. The other beaten down sectors industrials and materials are also performing well. Freeport is jumping 4%. Caterpillar is up 2.3%. Alcoa had their numbers cut ahead of earnings next week, but the stock is higher by 3%. Agrium and Potash are both up over 2% on upgrades. The beaten up auto sector is also witnessing a nice bound thanks to better than expected June sales. Ford and GM are up over 3% while Toyota is higher by 2%. The rest of the retail sector is under pressure. Lowes and Home Depot are lower by 2% on cautious analyst comments. Surprisingly, the housing sector keeps pushing higher. Lennar made a new 52 week high. Through the first hour the averages slowly improved with a bounce in the currencies. The Dow rose 40 points while the Nasdaq improved by 14 points. A nice rally in this holiday abbreviated session. The techs are being led once again by Apple nearly $600 a share once again. The other big caps also look good. Research in Motion keeps moving in the opposite direction. The risk on sectors are not participating in the rally. Utilities are quiet except for Duke Energy which completed its' merger with Progress Energy and instituted a 3 for 1 reverse split. In the healthcare space, the HMOs keep pushing lower following the Supreme Court decision last week. Through the morning into the lunch hour (the last hour) the averages held on to gains. Dow component Walmart rallied 2% to new all-time highs. Into the close the bulls gave the market an added boost, rallying to new highs for the day. The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished up 72 points to 12,943. The S&P 500 Index rose 8 points to close at 1,374 while the Nasdaq Composite Index advanced 24 points to close at 2,976. Energy and materials stocks led the rally on higher oil and gold prices.
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