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Stocks climb; Fourth straight gain for S&P 500

Published on NewsOK Modified: May 27, 2014 at 3:48 pm •  Published: May 27, 2014

NEW YORK (AP) — More promising signs that the economy is strengthening after its winter slowdown pushed stocks higher on Tuesday.

The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose for the fourth straight day and ended at another all-time high. It closed above 1,900 for the first time on Friday. Small-company stocks and other riskier parts of the market, like Internet and biotechnology companies, also gained after being beaten down over the past few months.

The government reported that orders to U.S. factories for long-lasting manufactured goods rose unexpectedly in April, powered by a surge in demand for military aircraft. Also, the Conference Board's consumer confidence index rose in May to the second-highest level since January 2008, just after the start of the Great Recession.

"Everyone's been continuing to look for signs about whether the economy is picking up some speed," said Kate Warne, an investment strategist at Edward Jones. The report on manufactured goods "is one more piece of evidence suggesting that it really was weather and not something else slowing growth in the winter time."

The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose 11.38 points, or 0.6 percent, to 1,911.91. The stock market was closed Monday for Memorial Day.

The Dow Jones industrial average gained 69.23 points, or 0.4 percent, to 16,675.50. The Nasdaq composite climbed 51.26 points, or 1.2 percent, to 4,237.07.

Stocks rose from the opening bell following the durable goods report. Nine of the ten sectors that make up the S&P 500 rose, led by financial and industrial companies.

Small-company stocks also made big gains, suggesting that investors were more comfortable making riskier investments. The Russell 2000 rose 1.3 percent, its biggest gain in two weeks.

Hillshire Brands, the maker of Jimmy Dean breakfast sausage and other products, was among the biggest gainers Tuesday. The stock jumped $8.17, or 22.1 percent, to $45.19 after poultry producer Pilgrim's Pride offered to acquire the company in a deal worth about $5.6 billion. Pilgrim's Pride said the deal is better than Hillshire's plan, announced earlier this month, to buy Pinnacle Foods for $4.23 billion. Pinnacle's stock fell $1.79, or 5.4 percent, to $31.48.

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