Financial shares led major U.S. stocks indexes to five-year highs, putting the Dow industrials 1% away from their record close, amid upbeat earnings reports.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average added 47.46 points, or 0.3%, to 14018.70, its highest close since October 2007. The Standard & Poor's 500-stock index gained 2.42 points, or 0.2%, to 1519.43. The Nasdaq (NDAQ)
Among decliners in tech, Apple (AAPL)
Avon Products (AVP)
"The early months of any year are often seasonally strong for the stock market, and this year was no exception," said Lawrence Creatura, portfolio manager at Federated Investors, which oversees $380 billion. "The important question is, were those gains earned? Based on the earnings results that we've gotten so far, it seems as though they were."
Investors awaited President Barack Obama's State of the Union address tonight. The president is expected to prod Congress to move to spur the economy and touch on immigration, gun control and climate change.
"Investors will be listening for any change of direction in the balance between taxation and spending," Mr. Creatura said.
On the economic front, the National Federation of Independent Business said its small-business optimism index for January rose less than economists had expected. Separately, the number of job openings in December edged down from a month earlier, the Labor Department reported.
European markets gained ground. The Stoxx Europe 600 added 0.5%, as European Union finance ministers met to discuss the euro zone's debt crisis and the recent rise in the euro.
Most Asian markets remained closed for the Lunar New Year holiday, but Japanese markets returned from a long weekend with a bang. Japan's Nikkei Stock Average surged 1.9% after Economic Minister Akira Amari suggested over the weekend that he would like to see the Nikkei reach 13000 by the end of the fiscal year on March 31.
Crude-oil prices gained 0.5%, to settle at $97.51 a barrel, while gold ticked up less than 0.1%, to settle at $1,648.70 a troy ounce. The dollar lost ground against the euro and yen. The 10-year Treasury note fell in price to yield 1.982%.
Among other stocks, Coca-Cola (KO)
Michael Kors Holdings (KORS)
Dun & Bradstreet (DNB)
Community-bank chain ConnectOne Bancorp rose 1.65, or 5.9%, to 29.65, on its first day of trading on the Nasdaq Stock Market.
Write to Matt Jarzemsky at firstname.lastname@example.org