U.S. stocks rallied Tuesday to kick off a holiday-shortened week, with the S&P 500 keeping its record rising tick, as investors cheered a bunch of positive economic data.
The benchmark S&P 500 briefly hit an all-time high of 1,912.28 points in intraday trading before retreating to 1,911.91 points, also a record close, up 0.60 percent. The index's previous record intraday high occurred on May 13.
The rally came after the S&P 500 closed above the psychologically important level of 1,900 points for the first time ever in history on upbeat April new home sales Friday.
Meanwhile, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 69.23 points, or 0.42 percent, to 16,675.50. The Nasdaq Composite Index surged 51.26 points, or 1.22 percent, to 4,237.07.
Exactly two weeks ago, the bullish market sentiment on Wall Street propelled the blue-chip Dow and the broader S&P 500 to all- time highs, as investors felt comfortable with generally upbeat economic data and corporate earnings as well as the U.S. Federal Reserve's consistent pledge to keep interest rates in extremely low levels as long as needed.
Tuesday was a very busy day on economic calendar, with an array of economic data turning out positive, which once again ignited investor risk appetite driving stocks to record highs.
U.S. orders for manufactured durable goods unexpectedly rose 0. 8 percent to 239.9 billion U.S. dollars in April thanks to a surge in demand for defense capital goods, the U.S. Commerce Department said Tuesday. The reading stood largely above market consensus.
Moreover, a pair of housing price data continued to point to a bright real estate market.
The S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices, a leading measure of U. S. home prices, showed the 20-City Composite Index gained 0.9 percent in March on a monthly basis, according to data released by S&P Dow Jones Indices Tuesday. The monthly gain also beat analysts ' forecast.
U.S. house prices rose 1.3 percent in the first quarter, marking the eleventh consecutive quarterly price increase in the purchase-only, seasonally adjusted index, according to the Federal Housing Finance Agency's House Price Index.
U.S. consumer confidence also improved moderately in May as expected, with the index rising to 83.0 in the month from 81.7 in the prior month, the New York-based research group Conference Board said Tuesday.
Additionally, adjusted for seasonal influences, the Markit Flash U.S. Services Purchasing Managers' Index picked up to 58.4 in May, the highest since March 2012, from 55 in April. The better- than-expected reading, also well above the neutral value of 50, suggested a robust expansion of business activity in the service sector.
On corporate news, Apple shares ticked up 1.87 percent to 625. 63 dollars after the biggest public company by market capitalization is reportedly planning to reveal a new software platform specifically for smart home technology at the Worldwide Developers Conference scheduled for June.
Trading volume is expected to remain low this week, as the U.S. stock market was closed Monday for Memorial Day, an occasion to honor American service members killed in the line of duty.
The CBOE Volatility Index, a gauge of fear in the market, increased 1.32 percent to end at 11.51 Tuesday.
In other markets, oil prices fell Tuesday as markets believed that U.S. crude stockpiles are sufficient to meet increasing fuel demand. Light, sweet crude for July delivery moved down 24 cents to settle at 104.11 U.S. dollars a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, while Brent crude for July delivery lost 52 cents to close at 110.02 dollars a barrel.
Gold futures on the COMEX division of the New York Mercantile Exchange went down Tuesday as money fled from the so-called safe haven asset amid reduced concerns over Ukraine, with the most active gold contract for June delivery dropping 26.2 dollars, or 2. 03 percent, to settle at 1,265.5 dollars per ounce.
The U.S. dollar traded mixed against major currencies Tuesday amid a series of encouraging U.S. economic data. In late New York trading, the euro rose to 1.3635 dollars from 1.3632 dollars of the previous session, and the British pound decreased to 1.6810 dollars from 1.6831 dollars