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S&P 500 at new record after solid US data

The S&P 500 notched a record close for the second straight session as US stocks rallied following some solid economic data.

NEW YORK: The S&P 500 on Tuesday notched a record close for the second straight session as US stocks rallied following some solid economic data.

The broad-based S&P 500 gained 11.38 points (0.60 per cent) at 1,911.91. On Friday the index closed above 1,900 for the first time; markets were closed Monday for a holiday.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average advanced 69.23 (0.42 per cent) to 16,675.50, while the strongest move came from the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index, which jumped 51.26 (1.22 per cent) to 4,237.07.

Fresh US economic data showed a rise in consumer confidence for May, a surprising increase in durable goods orders for April and an increase in home prices for March on the widely watched S&P/Case-Shiller index.

Wells Fargo Advisors called the economic data "encouraging" in a market note.

Mace Blicksilver, director of Marblehead Asset Management, said the rally in technology stocks was a sign of improving sentiment.

Leading tech companies to gain included Apple (+1.9 per cent), Facebook (+3.5 per cent), Priceline (+5.2 per cent) and Tesla Motors (+2.1 per cent).

US chicken producer Pilgrim's Pride announced a bid to acquire prepared-meats and frozen-foods company Hillshire Brands in a deal worth $6.4 billion, on condition Hillshire scraps its proposed $6.6 billion takeover of Pinnacle Foods. Hillshire said the company stands by its proposed takeover of Pinnacle, but promised to study the offer.

Hillshire shot up 22.1 per cent, Pilgrim's advanced 1.7 per cent and Pinnacle slumped 5.4 per cent.

Bank of America rose 3.4 per cent as it resubmitted its capital plan after the Federal Reserve required the bank to halt shareholder distributions due to a $4 billion overstatement of its capital position.

Botox-maker Allergan released a presentation attacking Valeant Pharmaceuticals in its latest effort to thwart an unsolicited takeover bid. The company raised numerous issues, including Valeant's ability to promote products of Allergan's scale and the extensive turnover in Valeant management. Allergan shares lost 1.1 per cent, while Valeant fell 2.6 per cent.

Bond prices rose. The yield on the 10-year US Treasury dipped to 2.52 per cent from 2.54 per cent Friday, while the 30-year dropped to 3.37 per cent from 3.40 per cent. Bond prices and yields move inversely.

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