Dow, S&P 500 Edge Back Up to Record Highs

NEW YORK (AP) -

U.S. stocks rebounded Thursday, sending the Dow Jones industrial average and Standard & Poor’s 500 index back into record territory.

It was the second record-high close for the Dow this week and the third for the S&P 500. The modest gains erased losses from the day before, pushing the three major stock indexes further ahead for the week.

Good news on housing, the job market and another dash of strong corporate earnings helped drive stocks higher, reversing a decline earlier in the day. Energy stocks led the gainers in the S&P 500 as oil prices rose.

Discouraging economic data out of Europe and China stoked worries of a global economic slowdown and sent stocks lower in early trading. But investors shrugged off those concerns, reassured by a batch of positive U.S. economic reports.

Traders were buoyed by  retailers including Best Buy, Dollar Tree and Kirkland’s, which reported better-than-expected earnings. Third-quarter earnings for companies in the S&P 500 are at an all-time high.

In the end, the S&P 500 index rose 4.03 points, or 0.2 percent, to 2,052.75. That’s just above the index’s previous record-high close on Tuesday at 2,051.80. The S&P 500 is up 11.1 percent this year.

The Dow gained 33.27 points, or 0.2 percent, to 17,719. That’s up from its last record-high close of 17,687.82 on Tuesday. The Dow is up 6.9 percent this year.

The Nasdaq composite added 26.16 points, or 0.6 percent, to 4,701.87. The tech-heavy index is up 12.6 percent this year.

Also on Thursday, the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia said its regional manufacturing index rose to the highest level since 1993, adding to other recent evidence that U.S. manufacturing is expanding modestly and helping boost economic growth.

That data offset worries over the 18-country eurozone, where a broad gauge of business activity fell this month to a 16-month low. In China, a preliminary survey showed manufacturing in the world’s second-largest economy slid to a six-month low this month.

Investors bid up several retailers that reported strong earnings Thursday.

Best Buy jumped $2.48, or 7 percent, to $38.02, while discounter Dollar Tree gained $3.24, or 5.2 percent, to $65.87. Home decorations chain Kirkland’s climbed $4.44, or 24.5 percent, to $22.53.

Six of the 10 sectors in the S&P 500 index ended higher, led by energy stocks. The telecommunications sector fell the most. Among individual stocks, Keurig Green Mountain fell the most, declining $11.45, or 7.4 percent, to $142.50.

Benchmark U.S. crude rose $1 to $75.58 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, a benchmark for international oils used by many U.S. refineries, rose $1.23 to $79.33 on the ICE Futures exchange in London.

In other energy futures trading on the NYMEX, wholesale gasoline fell 1.6 cents to close at $2.028 a gallon, heating oil rose 2.1 cents to close at $2.38 a gallon and natural gas rose 11.8 cents to close at $4.489 per 1,000 cubic feet.

Gold fell $3 to $1,190.90 an ounce, silver fell 16 cents to $16.14 an ounce and copper fell three cents to $3.02 a pound.

U.S. government bond prices rose. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell to 2.34 percent from 2.36 percent late Wednesday.