S&P 500 hits a new high, led by technology stocks

Wages and spending rose in the United States last month, which helped encourage investors.
Wages and spending rose in the United States last month, which helped encourage investors. (PATRICK SEMANSKY / Associated Press)
Posted: April 30, 2013

NEW YORK - Technology companies led the Standard & Poor's 500 index to an all-time closing high Monday.

The stock market has recovered all the ground it lost over the previous two weeks, when worries over slower economic growth, falling commodity prices, and disappointing quarterly earnings battered financial markets.

The S&P 500 index rose 11.37 points to close at 1,593.61. The 0.7 percent increase nudged the index above its previous closing high of 1,593.36, reached April 11.

A pair of better economic reports gave investors encouragement. Wages and spending rose in the United States last month, and pending home sales hit their highest level in three years.

The Dow Jones industrial average gained 106.20 to 14,818.75, up 0.7 percent. Microsoft and IBM were among the Dow's best performers, rising more than 2 percent each. IBM alone accounted for a third of the Dow's increase. The index is 46 points below its record high of 14,865 reached April 11.

Tech's popularity Monday was a change from earlier this month, when it lagged the rest of the market. Concerns about weak business spending and slower overseas sales have cast a shadow over big tech firms, said Marty Leclerc, the managing partner of Barrack Yard Advisors, an investment firm in Bryn Mawr. But Leclerc thinks tech companies with steady revenue and plenty of cash look appealing over the long term.

Information technology stocks rose the most of the 10 industry groups in the S&P Monday, up 1.6 percent. It's the only group that remains lower over the past year, down 2 percent, vs. the S&P 500's gain of 14 percent.

The Nasdaq composite rose 27.76 points to 3,307.02, an increase of 0.9 percent. Apple, the biggest stock in the index, surged 3 percent to $430.12.

The number of Americans who signed contracts to buy homes reached the highest level since April 2010, according to the National Association of Realtors. Back then, a tax credit for buying houses lifted sales. In a separate report, the government said Americans' spending and income both edged up last month.

A handful of companies reported earnings Monday. Eaton Corp.'s quarterly net income beat Wall Street's estimates. But the manufacturer's revenue fell short. Its stock climbed 3 percent to $60.28.

Moody's and Standard & Poor's parent company McGraw-Hill surged following news that the ratings agencies settled lawsuits dating back to the financial crisis that accused them of concealing risky investments. McGraw-Hill gained 3 percent to $53.45, while Moody's jumped 8 percent to $59.69.

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