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U.S. stocks rise; Dow at five-year high

AFP-JIJI

U.S. stocks rose Tuesday, with the Dow hitting a fresh five-year high, as investors weighed company earnings and a mixed batch of economic data.

The Dow Jones industrial average gained 72.49 points, or 0.52 percent, to 13,954.42, just 1.5 percent below its all-time closing high on Oct. 9, 2007.

The S&P 500, a broad measure of the markets, advanced 7.66 points, or 0.51 percent, to 1,507.84, while the tech-rich Nasdaq was flat, down a mere 0.64 point, or 0.02 percent, at 3,153.66.

“It just seems to be a bold move higher, with nothing else going on,” said Steven Rosen of Societe Generale. “It is not a big move though.”

“Given some seemingly negative economic news,” Joe Bell of Schaeffer’s Investment Research noted, “the market showed great resilience.”

Investors shrugged off a weaker-than-expected consumer confidence reading to focus on positive corporate profit tallies. Home prices continued to show a recovery in the housing market.

The action came as the Federal Reserve opened a two-day meeting amid expectations the Fed will keep ultraloose monetary policy unchanged.

On the Nasdaq, Apple added 1.9 percent and Research in Motion tumbled 3.2 percent a day ahead of its launch of the BlackBerry 10 smartphone.

In Europe, London’s FTSE 100 index of leading companies rose 0.71 percent to 6,339.19 points, hitting its highest close since May 2008. Frankfurt’s DAX 30 added 0.20 percent to 7,848.57 points, and in Paris the CAC 40 gained 0.13 percent to 3,785.82 points.

On Europe’s corporate front, shares in Royal Bank of Scotland plunged 5.98 percent to 345.8 pence ($5.48) on a report that it could face a £500 million ($786 million) fine from British and U.S. authorities for its role in the Libor rate-rigging affair.