Stocks started out Tuesday in a bit of a muddled mess, but managed to climb ahead thanks to decent economic data and corporate earnings.
The Dow neared 14,000, finishing up 0.52% at 13,954.42, while the S&P kept its head above the magic 1,500 mark, closing up 0.51% at 1,507.84. Held back by weakness in tech stocks, the Nasdaq was down fractionally to 3,153.66.
Pharmaceutical companies stole the show on the day as Pfizer (NYSE:PFE) shares rose over 3% — the biggest gain in the Dow — and touched a 52-week high on better-than-anticipated quarterly numbers. Sector-mate Eli Lilly (NYSE:LLY, 3.19%) also touched its 52-week high on similar strong earnings news.
The Case-Shiller 20-city home price index beat expectations, and the news was good enough to lift shares of homebuilder D.R. Horton (NYSE:DHI) up almost 12%, while Hovnanian (NYSE:HOV, +4.05%) and M/I Homes (NYSE:MHO, +3.60%) also found upward momentum.
The tech sector saw an up and down day, as Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) gained nearly 2% after announcing a new iPad with more storage. Going the other way was Yahoo! (NASDAQ:YHOO), which saw shares rise early but end down 3% on the day after investors digested the news offered by CEO Marissa Mayer late Tuesday.
VMWare (NSYE:VMW) dropped nearly 22% after the company lowered its 2013 guidance and announced a strategic restructuring, while Hewlett-Packard (NYSE:HPQ) fell over 3% — the biggest loser on the Dow.
Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) fell nearly 5% on the day but rallied over 8% in after-hours trading despite missing Q4 estimates by 6 cents per share and lowering guidance on revenue and earnings for Q1 2013.
Ford (NYSE:F) proved to be an anchor on the S&P despite posting higher fourth-quarter income and sales, boosted by strong results in North America. Worse-than-expected sales in Europe dropped the shares almost 5% on the day.
Finally, retailer J.C. Penney (NYSE:JCP) saw its shares soar over 9% on news that … wait for it … it will resume its prior discounting model and keep Martha Stewart’s product lineup out of its stores thanks to legal problems.
Earnings notables for Wednesday include Boeing (NYSE:BA), Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) and ConocoPhillips (NYSE:COP).
- Hess (NYSE:HES): Up 9.01% ($5.63) to $68.11
- Supervalu (NYSE:SVU): Up 6.25% (23 cents) to $3.91
- Phillips 66 (NYSE:PSX): Up 4.89% ($2.79) to $59.88
- Lexmark (NYSE:LXK): Down 15.06% ($4.21) to $23.74
- Zynga (NASDAQ:ZNGA): Down 8.45% (24 cents) to $2.60
- BMC Software (NYSE:BMC): Down 6.23% ($2.77) to $41.71
Marc Bastow is an Assistant Editor at InvestorPlace.com. As of this writing, he was long AAPL and YHOO.