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Stocks end on a high note before Christmas

Dec. 25, 2013 @ 12:00 AM

NEW YORK -- Stocks rose in a holiday-shortened trading day Tuesday, helped by a report that showed American companies were investing in their businesses at the fastest pace since January.

Markets were open for just half a day ahead of the Christmas holiday, and trading volume was extremely light. Roughly 1.3 billion shares changed hands on the New York Stock Exchange, a third of what is traded on a regular day. It was the slowest day of the year.

Materials and industrial stocks rose more than the rest of the market after the government reported that orders for long-lasting manufactured products rose 3.5 percent in November, more than economists expected. Core capital goods, a category that tracks business investment, jumped 4.5 percent, the biggest gain since January.

DuPont rose $1.09, or 2 percent, to $63.83 and construction equipment maker Caterpillar gained 95 cents, or 1 percent, to $90.91.

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 62.94 points, or 0.4 percent, to 16,357.55. The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose 5.33 points, or 0.3 percent, to 1,833.32 and the Nasdaq composite rose 6.51 points, or 0.2 percent, to 4,155.42.

Stocks have been rising steadily since last Wednesday, when the Federal Reserve surprised investors by announcing it was cutting back its bond-buying program, citing an improving economy. The Fed said it will reduce its bond purchases to $75 billion a month beginning in January, down from $85 billion.

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