US stocks closing: Bank and commodity shares led the benchmark Standard & Poor's 500 Index to a fresh five-year closing high on Tuesday on hopes that the global economy continues to mend.
Travelers' shares climbed after the insurer's results and lifted the Dow Jones industrial average to a new five-year closing high.
On Friday, both the Dow and the S&P 500 ended at five-year highs after the quarterly earnings season got off to a solid start. On Monday, the U.S. stock market was closed in observance of the Martin Luther King, Jr., holiday.
In Tuesday's session, the market also gained on signals that Republican leaders in the U.S. House of Representatives aim on Wednesday to pass a bill to extend the U.S. debt limit by nearly four months to May 19. The White House welcomed the move, saying it would remove uncertainty about the issue.
Investors, however, were cautious ahead of an increase in earnings reports and as the S&P 500 rose for a fifth straight session.
Jack de Gan, chief investment officer of Harbor Advisory Corp, in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, said better economic numbers in the United States and China, as well as more stabilization in Europe, were driving buyers into sectors associated with economic growth.
"Any (bearish) news could turn us down for a day or so," he said, referring to the recent string of gains.
Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold led gains in the materials sector after it reported a 16 percent rise in fourth-quarter profit on higher production. Shares gained 4.6 percent to $35.19.
The Dow Jones industrial average rose 62.51 points, or 0.46 percent, to 13,712.21 at the close. The S&P 500 gained 6.58 points, or 0.44 percent, to 1,492.56. The Nasdaq Composite added 8.47 points or 0.27 percent, to 3,143.18.
Tuesday's session marked the highest closes for both the Dow and the S&P 500 since December 2007.
Technology shares underperformed as concerns about Apple's ability to continue to grow at hyper speed and a weak outlook from Intel Corp diminished optimism about the sector's prospects. The S&P technology index added 0.16 percent for the day. In comparison, the S&P energy sector index, the