As the heat and humidity started to build into the Eastern Seaboard today, so too did investor enthusiasm for stocks, as earnings and product announcements overshadowed fears of a eurozone meltdown and jitters over the start of the Federal Reserve’s two-day meeting, which ends Wednesday.
Stocks were propelled higher by the tech and financial sectors, and all three majors indices showed solid gains for the day.
In the end, the Nasdaq gained 1.2% to close at 2,929, the S&P 500 rose 1% to 1,358, and the Dow ended higher by 0.75% at 12,837, with 24 of the Dow 30 stocks higher on the day.
Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) kicked off a good Tuesday for tech with Monday night’s announcement of a tablet computer to rival Apple‘s (NASDAQ:AAPL) iPad drove the stock up 2.88% on the day. Microsoft’s Surface tablet will incorporate chip technology from ARM Holdings (NASDAQ:ARM) and Intel (NASDAQ:INTC); the former headed more than 3% higher Tuesday while the latter made slight gains.
On the earnings side, Oracle (NASDAQ:ORCL) surprised Wall Street by announcing results in advance of Thursday’s planned report. Regardless, results were better than expected, with the company also laying the groundwork for continued strength ahead and maintaining its 6-cent dividend. Oracle shares closed up 3.1%.
The financial sector saw some of the biggest gains on the day, as shares of JPMorgan (NYSE:JPM), Bank of America (NYSE:BAC), Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS), Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS) and Citigroup (NYSE:C) were all up more than 2% in anticipation of good news from the Fed — possibly in the form of more monetary easing.
Not so lucky was retailer J.C. Penney (NYSE:JCP), which couldn’t withstand another shot across the bow, dropping more than 8% on the day after announcing the departure of not-for-long president Michael Francis, who was lured to JCP from Target (NYSE:TGT).
Walgreen (NYSE:WAG) announced plans to buy 45% of Swiss-based Alliance Boots, the company’s first overseas investment. Investors were not overly pleased, as shares dropped almost 6% on the news, despite a 5-cent boost in the dividend to 27 cents per quarter, good for a nearly 3.6% yield on Tuesday’s closing price of $30.09. Walgreen’s lower revenues put the hurt on Rite-Aid (NYSE:RAD), which dropped 1.65%.
- US Steel (NYSE:X): Up 9.5% ($1.75) to $20.16.
- Louisiana-Pacific (NYSE:LPX): Up 7.2% (72 cents) to $10.73.
- Nvidia (NASDAQ:NVDA): Up 6.8% (84 cents) to $13.24.
- Western Gas (NYSE:WES): Down 4.9% ($2.24) to $43.16.
- Archer-Daniels (NYSE:ADM): Down 3.7% ($1.16) to $30.13.
- Barnes & Noble (NYSE:BKS): Down 3.7% (56 cents) to $14.68. (Read more here)
Marc Bastow is an Assistant Editor at InvestorPlace.com. As of this writing, he was long MSFT, AAPL and INTC.