* Blue chips: Travelers up after results, J&J slips
* RIM shares rally on possible strategic alliances
* Google, IBM shares rise after the bell
* Dow up 0.5 pct, S&P 500 up 0.4 pct, Nasdaq up 0.3 pct
By Rodrigo Campos
NEW YORK, Jan 22 Bank and commodity shares led
the Standard & Poor's 500 to a fresh five-year closing high on
Tuesday on hopes that the global economy continues to mend.
The Dow Jones industrial average also ended at a five-year
high, buoyed by an advance in Travelers' shares after the
The market also gained on signals that Republican leaders in
the U.S. House of Representatives aim on Wednesday to pass a
nearly four-month extension of the U.S. debt limit. The White
House welcomed the move, saying it defuses fears of a U.S.
default on its debt.
Investors, however, were cautious ahead of an increase in
earnings reports and as the S&P 500 rose for a fifth straight
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
"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
Signs of improved sentiment toward world growth were seen in
European bond markets. The yield on Portugal's benchmark 10-year
note fell below 6 percent for the first time since late 2010 on
news that the country was set to tap the bond market this week
for the first time since it was bailed out in 2011.
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, compared with 0.9 percent gains in energy,
financials and basic materials.
In extended-hours trading, Google shares rose 4.5
percent to above $734 after the world's No. 1 search engine
reported a jump in fourth-quarter revenue, while IBM
added more than 3 percent to trade above $200 after the world's
largest technology services company reported earnings and
revenue that beat estimates.
During the regular session, shares of blue chips Travelers
, DuPont, and Verizon Communications rose
Travelers rose 2.2 percent to $77.95, a closing high.
DuPont's shares gained 1.8 percent to $47.82 and Verizon's stock
rose 0.9 percent to $42.94.
Thomson Reuters data through Tuesday morning showed that of
the 74 S&P 500 companies that have reported earnings so far,
62.2 percent have topped expectations, roughly even with the 62
percent average since 1994, but below the 65 percent average
over the past four quarters.
Overall, S&P 500 fourth-quarter earnings are forecast to
have risen 2.6 percent. That estimate is above the 1.9 percent
forecast from the start of earnings season, but well below the
9.9 percent fourth-quarter earnings forecast from Oct. 1, the
U.S.-listed shares of Research in Motion
rallied 13 percent to $17.90 a day after its chief executive
said the Canadian company may consider strategic alliances with
other companies after the launch of devices powered by RIM's new
BlackBerry 10 operating system.
About 6.2 billion shares changed hands on the New York Stock
Exchange, the Nasdaq and NYSE MKT, below last year's daily
average of about 6.45 billion shares.
On the NYSE, advancers outnumbered decliners by a ratio of
roughly 7 to 3. On the Nasdaq, five stocks rose for every three