Stocks advance, push Dow up toward 14,000
NEW YORK -- Pfizer helped keep the stock market rally alive Tuesday. The drugmaker's stock gained after posting strong earnings, pushing the Dow closer to 14,000.
The Dow Jones industrial average rose 73 points to close at 13,954.42 points, ending higher for the seventh day in eight. The Standard and Poor's 500 also rose, adding eight points to 1,507.84 points. The Nasdaq composite dropped less than a point to 3,153.66.
The January rally looked as if it was running out of steam on Monday as stocks pulled back from their highs, but Tuesday they resumed their ascent toward record levels. Demand was bolstered at the start of the year after lawmakers reached a deal to avoid the "fiscal cliff" and was sustained by reports that have added to evidence showing the U.S. housing market is recovering and the jobs market is slowly healing.
The Dow is 6.5 percent higher this month and the S&P 500 is up 5.7 percent. Both indexes are at their highest levels in more than five years.
Pfizer was the biggest gainer in the Dow, advancing 86 cents, or 3.2 percent, to $27.70 after the company said its fourth-quarter profit more than quadrupled because of a $4.8 billion gain from selling its nutrition business and despite competition from generic drugs hurting sales. Homebuilder D.R. Horton gained $2.51, or 11.8 percent, to $23.82 after it said that net income more than doubled as the housing recovery took hold. Improving home prices and better sales bolstered profits.
"The earnings season is not stellar, it's not gangbusters, but it's better than last quarter," said Quincy Krosby, a market strategist at Prudential.