U.S. Stocks Climb as S&P 500 Index Surpasses 2,000 Level

U.S. stocks rose, sending the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index above 2,000, after a report showed the biggest ever jump in durable-goods orders and consumer confidence unexpectedly increased.

Energy shares led gains in the S&P 500 with a 0.7 percent advance as West Texas Intermediate oil rose from a seven-month low. DSW Inc., a shoe retailer, jumped 9.7 percent after reporting higher-than-estimated profit. Best Buy Co. dropped 6.3 percent after posting a sales decline that was steeper than analysts had projected.

The S&P 500 rose 0.2 percent to 2,000.89 at 10:20 a.m. in New York. The index touched a new intraday record of 2,002.77. The Dow Jones Industrial Average added 42.90 points, or 0.3 percent, to 17,119.77 today. The Nasdaq Composite Index was little changed after a three-day rally.

“There’s not a lot of direction in the market so far,” Richard Sichel, chief investment officer at Philadelphia Trust Co., which oversees $2 billion, said in a phone interview. “The 2,000 number got a lot of attention, but let’s get back to basics and see how the economy is doing.”

Data today showed orders for U.S. durable goods jumped in July as bookings surged for commercial aircraft. Demand for business equipment eased after the biggest gain in seven months.

Durable Goods

Bookings for goods meant to last at least three years climbed 22.6 percent after a 2.7 percent gain in June that was bigger than previously reported, data from the Commerce Department showed. An air show in the U.K. helped drive a 318 percent jump in plane orders, the most January 2011. A 0.5 percent drop in orders for non-military capital goods excluding aircraft last month followed a June increase of 5.4 percent.

The Conference Board’s consumer confidence index rose to 92.4 in August, the highest since October 2007, from a revised 90.3 a month earlier, the private research group said.

The U.S. equity benchmark has advanced for the past three weeks and more than $1 trillion has been added to the value of American equities since a two-month low on Aug. 7 amid speculation central banks will continue to keep interest rates near zero even as the economy strengthens.

“I am still bullish on the U.S. market, but I do expect the S&P 500 to consolidate and slip back to 1,950-80 range as it’s due for a rest once it climbs to 2,000,” said Manish Singh, who helps manage $2 billion at Crossbridge Capital in London. “Any dip will be a shallow one. The central-bank and data narrative is still supportive of risk.”

(Corrects name of Singh’s firm in story published Aug. 26)
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