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US STOCKS-Wall St gains as no change to stimulus seen; IBM lifts

Caroline Valetkevitch
Tuesday, 29 Oct 2013 | 2:43 PM ET

* IBM climbs on buyback, dividend announcement

* Retail sales dip in Sept, shutdown weighs on confidence

* Apple down a day after reporting results; JPMorgan shares slip

* Indexes: Dow up 0.7 pct, S&P up 0.5 pct, Nasdaq up 0.3 pct

NEW YORK, Oct 29 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks rose on Monday, extending the S&P 500's string of record highs, as economic data supported views the Federal Reserve will keep its stimulus intact for several months and IBM gained after it announced a buyback.

Economic data showed consumer spending rose in September, but auto sales fell, indicating sluggish economic growth in the third quarter.

Other data showed consumer confidence fell sharply in October as a result of the partial government shutdown while producer prices unexpectedly fell in September, pointing to muted inflation.

It added to evidence of sluggish economic growth just as the Fed begins a two-day policy meeting. Expectations are high that officials are unlikely to shift monetary policy this week as they wait for more evidence of how badly Washington's budget battle has hurt the U.S. economy.

"The ghosts of tapering are not coming this Halloween," said Omar Aguilar, chief investment officer for equities at Charles Schwab Corp. "The government shutdown pushed the tapering discussion further out."

That's likely to keep a floor under stock for the near term at least, though longer term earnings and, in particular, lackluster revenue growth may be a concern, he said.

IBM Corp was the top boost to both the Dow and the S&P 500, hitting a session high of $181.99 after the company authorized a $15 billion stock buyback. Shares were last up 2.3 percent at $181.39.

The Dow Jones industrial average was up 102.10 points, or 0.66 percent, at 15,671.03. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index was up 8.35 points, or 0.47 percent, at 1,770.46. The Nasdaq Composite Index was up 9.75 points, or 0.25 percent, at 3,949.88.

The S&P hit an intraday record of 1,770.88.

Limiting some of the day's gains, Apple shares were down 1.3 percent at $522.78, a day after the iPad maker's results disappointed.

Another decliner was JPMorgan Chase, down 0.4 percent at $52.49 after a person familiar with the situation said the preliminary $13 billion deal set by the bank's CEO and the U.S. attorney general has hit a stumbling block.

According to Thomson Reuters data through Tuesday morning, of the 281 companies in the S&P 500 companies that have posted earnings, 68.7 percent have topped profit expectations, above both the long-term average of 63 percent and the 66 percent beat rate over the past four quarters.

However, only 52.5 percent have beaten revenue estimates, below the 61 percent rate since 2002 and slightly above the 49 percent rate over the past four quarters.

Pfizer Inc rose 1.7 percent to $31.26 to help lift the Dow and S&P after the drug company better-than-expected third-quarter earnings.

Cummins Inc slumped 6 percent to $126.80 as the worst performer on the S&P 500 after the maker of engines and other vehicle components, reported lower-than-expected quarterly profit on Tuesday and cut its full-year outlook.

The housing market was a bright spot, as home prices rose 0.9 percent in August, more than had been expected, according to the S&P/Case Shiller index. Among homebuilders, Lennar was up 1 percent at $37.18.

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