U.S. stocks started higher on Tuesday, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average extending gains into a sixth session, after President Obama renominated Ben Bernanke as chairman of the Federal Reserve, and home pricing data proved better than expected. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 37 points to 9,547. The S&P 500 added 4 points to 1,030 while the Nasdaq Composite advanced 6 points to 2,024. The surprisingly good housing data is helping the financials and home builders. Mastercard is higher on an upgrade. Blackrock is one of the few financials lower following a downgrade due to valuation. A number of earnings this morning from the retail sector. Chicos, Big Lots, and Burger King are all up 10% on earnings. Sanderson Farms and Staples are modestly higher on earnings. Costco and Lowes are higher following upgrades. The techs are performing well. Google is higher on an upgrade. At 10 o'clock, better than expected consumer confidence numbers sent the averages to new highs. The Dow jumped 100 points above 9600. The Nasdaq improved by 20 points to 2038. The good news keeps coming, but the rally started to fizzle. At the end of the first hour, the Dow remained up by just 32 points. The Nasdaq was up 5 points. Through the morning the averages rebounded. The Dow hovered just below 9600. Resilient. In the afternoon, similar to yesterday, the averages pulled back toward the unchanged level, but they remained in positive territory. The Dow Jones Industrial Average extended its winning streak into a sixth consecutive session, finishing up 30 points at 9,539. The S&P 500 Index added 2 points to close at 1,028, while the Nasdaq Composite climbed 6 points to end at 2,024.
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