NEW YORK (AP) — Good news about car sales, home prices and manufacturing led the stock market higher in light trading Tuesday.
The market was quiet ahead of the July 4th holiday. But traders weighed a number of positive reports, including Ford's best June sales since 2006. Home prices climbed to a seven-year high and factory orders rose.
U.S. stocks have begun to recover from a slump last month after Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said the central bank was considering easing its stimulus measures later this year, if the economy keeps getting better. The central bank is buying $85 billion a month in bonds to keep interest rates low and encourage borrowing.
The Dow Jones rose 57 points, or 0.4 percent, to 15,032 as of 11:31 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time. The Standard & Poor's 500 index gained seven points, or 0.4 percent, to 1,622. The Nasdaq composite added 12 points, or 0.4 percent, to 3,448.
Nine of the 10 industry groups in the S&P 500 rose, led by phone companies.
Ford rose 26 cents, or 1.7 percent, to $16.01, lifting the stock to its highest level since February 2011.
Factory orders rose in May, helped by a third straight month of stronger business investment. Orders rose 2.1 percent and April's increase was revised higher to 1.3 percent from 1 percent, the Commerce Department said.
Investors and traders are also turning their focus to corporate earnings, which begin in earnest next week. While corporate profits have reached record levels, most of the gains have come from cutting costs rather than increasing sales.
"We're in the middle of a transition," said Chris Wolfe, chief investment officer at Merrill Lynch Private Banking and Investment Group. "You would expect to see, over the balance of this year and going into next year, somewhat stronger macro-economic data that translates directly into stronger corporate revenue growth."
Alcoa, the first company in the Dow to report its earnings, will release its second-quarter earnings report after the market closes July 8.
In government bond trading, the yield on the 10-year Treasury note was unchanged at 2.48 percent on Monday. The yield has stabilized after surging as high as 2.66 percent last week, on concern that the Fed was set to stop buying bonds. As of May 3, the yield
In commodities trading the price of oil rose 85 cents, or 0.9 percent, $98.85 a barrel. Gold fell $7, or 0.6 percent, to $1,248.90 an ounce. The dollar against the euro and the Japanese yen.
Among stocks making big moves: — Zynga jumped 25 cents, or 8.1 percent, to $3.33 after the troubled maker of "FarmVille" and other online games said its CEO Mark Pincus would step aside. The company's stock is down almost 70 percent since its 2011 initial public offering at $10 per share.
— Achillion Pharmaceuticals fell $1.98, or 23.8 percent, to $6.37 after the drug developer said regulators Monday placed a hold on an early-stage study involving its potential hepatitis C treatment.
— DaVita HealthCare Partners fell $4.29, or 3.5 percent, to $116.90, after the government proposed cutting the rates of Medicare payments to dialysis service providers.