Dow, S&P 500 end higher on Microsoft, Europe data

NEW YORK (REUTERS) - The Dow industrials closed at a record high on Wednesday, led by gains in Microsoft Corp and encouraging European economic data, while the S&P 500 also rose but closed shy of its own record.

Meanwhile the Nasdaq fell, hurt by losses in Tesla Motors and as investors readied for Twitter's much-anticipated IPO.

The benchmark S&P 500 rose as high as 1,773.79 intraday, above its closing high of 1,771.95 set on Oct 29. Its all-time intraday peak came the day after at 1,775.22.

Microsoft was the biggest gainer on the blue chip Dow index after Reuters reported the company had narrowed its chief executive officer search to a handful of names. Its shares rose 4.2 per cent to $38.18 after rising as high as $38.22, the highest since July 2000.

However, other big technology shares slipped. Apple Inc was down 0.3 per cent at $520.92, Facebook Inc was down almost 2 per cent at $49.12. Google which fell as low as $1,015.37 earlier, closed up 0.1 per cent at $1,022.75.

"The market is pretty much all green but those three big powerful tech names are slightly down," said Mr Daniel Morgan, vice president and senior portfolio manager at Synovus Investment Advisors.

"It's interesting that these three companies have had such great momentum and fundamentals - I don't know if some of that money is shifting out in anticipation of Twitter."

Twitter Inc is expected to begin trading on Thursday in the hottest IPO of the year. The microblogging network, which has yet to turn a profit, has amassed 230 million users in seven years, including heads of state, celebrities and activists.

One day before the social media giant's IPO, several other companies sold shares that debuted on Wednesday. Barracuda Networks Inc shares jumped nearly 20 per cent to $21.55, but several other IPOs barely moved in their first day of action.

"One of the barometers for the health of market conditions we look at is the ability for the market to absorb a large amount of IPOs," said Mr Art Hogan, managing director at Lazard Capital Markets in New York.

If all 13 scheduled IPOs price this week, it will be the busiest week of the year in terms of the number of primary issues since September 2007 According to Thomson Reuters data.

The Dow Jones industrial average was up 128.66 points, or 0.82 per cent, at 15,746.88. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index was up 7.52 points, or 0.43 per cent, at 1,770.49.

The Nasdaq Composite Index was down 7.92 points, or 0.20 per cent, at 3,931.95.

Another sign of encouragement came from German industrial orders rising more than expected, which is significant as the country is the economic engine of the euro zone.

Weighing on the Nasdaq was Tesla Motors Inc, which saw shares slump more than 14 per cent to $151.16 after the electric car maker forecast a weaker-than-expected fourth-quarter profit and its third-quarter Model S deliveries disappointed some analysts.

Shares are up 350 per cent for the year, and the stock has been a target of short-sellers who see it as overvalued.

Ralph Lauren Corp shares advanced 5.5 per cent to $180.52 after the designer clothing company raised the lower end of its full-year sales forecast on the expectation of strong gains during the holiday quarter and increased its dividend.

Abercrombie & Fitch Co shares fell 13.5 per cent to $33.13 on Wednesday after the company reported a seventh quarterly fall in same-store sales in a row and warned of a tough holiday season.

About 6.2 billion shares of NYSE-listed securities, Amex and regional exchange-listed securities and Nasdaq-listed securities traded on Wednesday, according to data by Bats Global Markets.

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