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Stocks close higher; Nasdaq 100 at record

U.S. stocks closed higher Tuesday, off session highs, supported by gains in energy and tech stocks. ( Tweet This )

The Nasdaq 100 closed about 0.3 percent higher at 4,719.05, topping its previous record close set in March 2000 during the dotcom bubble. The index still has not surpassed its intraday high of 4,816.35, hit in March 2000.

Top-weighed index stocks Apple and Microsoft gained 1.15 percent and 1.71 percent, respectively.

The Dow Jones industrial average closed about 89 points higher after rising as much as 149 points in afternoon trade. Chevron and Visa contributed the most to gains. The index remained in the green for 2015 after closing there Monday for the first time since July 22.

"There's a whole lot of nothing going on. The only standout is energy as a group that's outperforming," said Dan Veru, chief investment officer at Palisade Capital Management.

"I think investors want to be early in the (economy-sensitive) groups. There's a rotation going on in the marketplace. We don't know where the (money) is going to end up, but the strength remains in materials, predominantly the oils," he said.

The S&P 500 ended mildly higher, holding above the psychologically key level of 2,100 reached Monday.

Leading S&P advancers, energy closed about 2.5 percent higher after earlier rising more than 3 percent in a second day of gains for November. Information technology gained about 0.6 percent to surpass materials as the second-best advancer as the close approached.

Materials gained 0.4 percent, while consumer staples was the greatest decliner.

Oil briefly gained more than 4 percent higher in afternoon trade. Crude oil futures settled up $1.76, or 3.81 percent, at $47.90 a barrel.

"Oil is still in a trading range. It's bouncing since the end of August when oil briefly traded below $40. ... There's still not a lot of conviction. Oil's not breaking out here," said Pavel Molchanov, energy analyst at Raymond James. "There's some value buying on the dip going on right now. There is nothing stunning coming out of the energy sector all of a sudden today."

Energy is the worst-performing sector in the S&P 500 year-to-date, down about 10 percent.

The Dow transports ended 0.4 percent lower, with Avis Budget plunging 11 percent to lead decliners. The car rental company lowered its full-year earnings outlook, due partly to currency headwinds.

In economic news, U.S. factory orders fell 1.0 percent in September, a second-straight month of decline, Reuters reported.

Auto sales for October came in at an 18.2 million rate, up from 16.6 million a year ago, Autodata said.

No other major data was scheduled for release Tuesday, ahead of Friday's key nonfarm payrolls report which investors will watch carefully for indications on the timing of a rate hike.

"There's a lot of stocks, IBM, Disney, having a nice small day," said JJ Kinahan, chief strategist at TD Ameritrade.

"I think you're starting to see people trading in anticipation of (Friday's jobs report) already," he said of morning trade, noting lower volume.

Stocks opened lower Tuesday before more than recovering losses to close higher.

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Treasury yields continued to climb higher, with the 10-year yield near 2.22 percent and the 2-year yield at 0.76 percent. Both yields hit their highest levels since the Fed held its meeting on Sept. 17.

The U.S. dollar traded higher against major world currencies, with the euro at $1.095 and the yen at 121.98 yen against the greenback.

"The higher Dollar today, especially in G10 is driven almost exclusively by U.S. rates, as the 10-year pushed back above 2.20 percent for the first time since mid-September," Jason Leinwand, managing director at Riverside Risk Advisors, said in an email.

"There is more than a 50 percent chance built into the market now that the Fed will hike in December and that is driving the Dollar higher, especially in the G10 space," he said. "Technically, euro is looking ready to break lower and a strong U.S. nonfarm number on Friday will push the euro back towards $1.0900 and below."

Comments from central bank policymakers are expected on Wednesday, with speeches from Chair Janet Yellen, Vice Chair Stanley Fischer and New York Fed President William Dudley.

On Monday, stocks kicked off the first trading day of November with gains of nearly 1 percent or more that took major averages to key levels. The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed in the green for 2015, joining the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq composite in positive territory for the year so far.

Major index 12-month performance


The S&P 500 closed above 2,100 points Monday. The last time the index crossed 2,100 in intraday trade was August 18, and its last close above that level was on August 17.

Katie Stockton, chief technical strategist at BTIG, said in a note that Monday's 5-to-1 ratio of advancers to decliners was "a testament to the quality of the upmove at this stage."

"We think a several-day pullback would refresh the uptrend, setting up the SPX for a breakout to new highs," she said.

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Gains in oil helped European stocks eke out a gain, shaking off some earlier pressure from UBS and Standard Chartered earnings.

Switzerland's biggest bank UBS posted third quarter net profit ahead of expectations but said it was under investigation from authorities concerning accounts relating to FIFA. Shares of the bank fell 5.8 percent in U.S. trade.

Standard Chartered announced plans to raise $5.1 billion via a rights offer and scrapped its dividend, after posting an unexpected loss in the third quarter. The stock declined more than 6.5 percent in London trade.

Symbol
Name
Price
 
Change
%Change
DJIA
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S&P 500
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NASDAQ
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The Dow Jones industrial average closed up 89.39 points, or 0.5 percent, at 17,918.15, with Visa leading advancers and UnitedHealth the greatest laggard.

The S&P 500 closed up 5.74 points, or 0.27 percent, at 2,109.79, with energy leading six sectors higher and consumer staples the greatest decliner.

The Nasdaq closed up 17.98 points, or 0.35 percent, at 5,145.13.

The CBOE Volatility Index (VIX), widely considered the best gauge of fear in the market, held near 14.

About three stocks advanced for every two decliners on the New York Stock Exchange, with an exchange volume of 936 million and a composite volume of nearly 4.3 billion in the close.

Gold futures settled $21.80 lower at $1,114.10 an ounce.

Reuters and CNBC's Jenny Cosgrave contributed to this report.

On tap this week:

Tuesday

Earnings: Activision Blizzard, CBS, Tesla Motors, Etsy, Fogo de Chao, Groupon, Herbalife, U.S. Steel, Zillow, Zynga

Auto sales

Wednesday

Earnings: 21st Century Fox, Honda Motor, Time Warner, Chesapeake Energy, Michael Kors, Motorola Solutions, Lumber Liquidators, SodaStream, Wendy's, Facebook, MetLife, Qualcomm, CF Industries, Whole Foods,GoDaddy, King Digital

5:30 a.m.: Fed Gov. Lael Brainard on bank supervision panel in Frankfurt

8:15 a.m.: ADP employment

8:30 a.m.: U.S. trade deficit

8:45 a.m.: Philadelphia Fed President Patrick Harker on social innovation capital

9:45 a.m.: Services PMI

10:00 a.m.: ISM non-manufacturing

10:00 a.m.: Fed Chair Janet Yellen testifies before the House Financial Services Committee on bank regulation and supervision

2:30 p.m.: New York Fed President William Dudley, press briefing on looking beyond macro economy

7:30 p.m.: Fed Vice Chair Stanley Fischer on central bank independence before National Economists Club

Thursday

Earnings: AstraZeneca, Toyota Motors, Molson Coors Brewing, Disney,Kraft Heinz, Monster Beverage, News Corp., Nvidia, Symantec, TripAdvisor, Dreamworks Animation, Shake Shack

Chicago Fed President Charles Evans gives welcoming remarks at banking conference

8:30 a.m.: Jobless claims, productivity and costs

8:30 a.m.: Philadelphia Fed's Patrick Harker on energy interdependence

8:30 a.m.: New York Fed's Bill Dudley opening remarks at financial services industry conference

9:10 a.m.: Fed Vice Chair Stanley Fischer on IMF panel on reforming financial services

1:25 p.m.: Fed Gov. Dan Tarullo on regulation of international banks at Chicago bank conference

1:30 p.m.: Atlanta Fed President Dennis Lockhart at Joint Central Bank conference, Switzerland

4 p.m.: Former Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke on Fed policy at IMF conference

Friday

Earnings: Allianz, Cigna, Humana

8:30 a.m.: October employment report

9:10 a.m.: St. Louis Fed President James Bullard on policy and economy

3:00 p.m.: Consumer credit

4:15 p.m.: Fed Gov. Lael Brainard on policy panel at IMFconference

Saturday

11:10 p.m.: San Francisco Fed President John Williams on outlook and economic education

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