Nasdaq closes above 4,000 for first time in 13 years

NEW YORK (REUTERS) - The Nasdaq composite index closed above 4,000 on Tuesday for the first time since 2000, while the Dow and S&P ended barely changed.

Retailers and homebuilders were among the best performing sectors, responding to stronger-than-expected earnings and robust housing market data.

Big-cap technology stocks helped the Nasdaq the most on Friday to finish above 4,000 for the first time since the dot-com bubble burst in 2000 and sent the tech-heavy index hurtling.

Tiffany & Co jumped 7 per cent to $88.02 and was the S&P 500's top performer after the luxury retailer's third-quarter sales topped expectations. The S&P retail index advanced 0.9 per cent.

"The wealth effect because the stock market has gone up has definitely helped the upper-end folks," said Mr Gary Bradshaw at Hodges Capital Management in Dallas, Texas.

Moreover, Mr Bradshaw said gasoline prices were giving a potential boost to broad-based holiday spending. Wal-Mart Stores Inc shares rose 0.3 per cent to close at an all-time high of $80.86 a day after the retailer named a new chief executive.

Jos. A. Bank Clothiers Inc surged 11.2 per cent to $56.29 after Men's Wearhouse offered to buy the company for $55 per share in cash, a 9 per cent premium to its Monday close. Men's Wearhouse jumped 7.5 per cent to $50.60.

On the Nasdaq, Apple Inc gained 1.8 per cent to $533.40, Google Inc rose 1.2 per cent to $1,058.41 and Inc shares ended up 1.3 per cent to $381.37.

The PHLX Housing Index rose 2.5 percent after stronger-than-expected figures on building permits for October and a steady rise in housing prices. Ryland Group led the index, gaining 5.6 per cent to $40.02 a share.

Permits for future US home construction hit a 5-1/2 year high and an index of single-family home prices notched big gains in September.

"The takeaway here is that the whole partial government shutdown thing was a real non-event," said Mr Jay Mueller, senior portfolio manager for Wells Capital Management.

The Dow Jones industrial average ended up 0.26 point to 16072.80. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index gained 0.27 point, or 0.01 per cent, to 1,802.75. The Nasdaq Composite Index rose 23.18 points, or 0.58 per cent, to 4,017.75.

The S&P 500 has risen nearly 27 percent this year, primarily bolstered by expectations the Federal Reserve's stimulus will continue at least until the end of the year.

The Walt Disney Company led the Dow in percentage gain, with shares rising 2.1 per cent to $71.18. The company announced better-than-expected earnings earlier in the month.

Trading is expected to remain light this week, with financial markets closed on Thursday for the Thanksgiving holiday.

Markets will also close early at 1pm (1am Singapore time) on Friday.

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