Tech rally drives indexes

December 29, 2015 12:32 PM

U.S. stock indexes were higher on Tuesday, with the S&P 500 logging a small gain for the year, as tech stocks rallied and energy stocks reflected a recovery in crude prices.

The S&P 500 was up 0.78% for the year, while the Nasdaq Composite extended gains and was up 7.56%. The Dow Jones Industrial Average, however, was down about 0.7%.

"I think equities on average are destined to end 2015 in uneventful fashion," said Terry Sandven, chief equity strategist at U.S. Bank Wealth Management in Minneapolis.

"Investors on average are at the crossroads of concern and optimism," he said. Lower oil prices put the pace of global growth in question and could translate to lackluster earnings, he added.

Apple was up 1.5% at $108.48 and was the biggest influence on the S&P and Nasdaq.

Amazon rose 2.9% and hit a life high of $694.90. The online retailer recorded more than 3 million new Prime memberships in the third week of December, indicating strong holiday demand.

Data on Tuesday indicated consumer sentiment was improving, with the Conference Board's index of consumer confidence for December up at 96.5, beating the 93.8 expected.

At 12:43 p.m. ET (1743 GMT), the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 167.54 points, or 0.96%, at 17,695.81, the S&P 500 was up 18.17 points, or 0.88%, at 2,074.67 and the Nasdaq Composite index was up 53.01 points, or 1.05%, at 5,093.99.

All 10 major S&P sectors were higher, led by a 1.22% rise in the tech sector.

Crude prices edged up on Tuesday on the prospects of colder weather in Europe and North America, raising hopes of a short-term uptick in the tepid demand that has plagued the commodity this year. [O/R]

Exxon shares were up 0.3% at $78.98, while Chevron was up 1.1% at $91.38.

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Abhiram Nandakumar, Reuters