* S&P on track for best month since October 2011
* Pfizer up after results, AT&T also rises
* Amazon shares fall ahead of earnings
* Ford tumbles on forecast of slumping European sales
* Dow up 0.4 pct, S&P up 0.3 pct, Nasdaq down 0.1 pct
By Rodrigo Campos
NEW YORK, Jan 29 U.S. stocks rose on Tuesday,
led by defensive sectors, in a sign the cash piles moving into
the market recently are being put to use by cautious investors
to pick up more gains.
The S&P 500 is on track to post its best monthly performance
since October 2011 as investors poured $55 billion in new cash
into stock mutual funds and exchange-traded funds in January,
the biggest monthly inflow on record.
Among rising defensive shares, which are companies
relatively immune to economic swings, were drugmaker Pfizer, up
1.2 percent to $27.16 and AT&T, 1.5 percent higher to
The S&P hovered near 1,500, and market technicians say the
benchmark is at a turning point which will determine if the
index will keep moving higher or find it difficult to break
through, resulting in a move lower in the near term.
"Cyclicals were moving very nicely, now you see balance with
some of the defensives. Many managers use that as an internal
hedge in equity portfolios," said Quincy Krosby, market
strategist at Prudential Financial in Newark, New Jersey.
She said the market is cautious ahead of Wednesday's
statement following the Federal Reserve's two-day meeting. In
addition, defensive stocks would hold up better if Friday's
payrolls report surprises on the downside.
The Dow Jones industrial average rose 57.42 points or
0.41 percent, to 13,939.35, the S&P 500 gained 4.88
points or 0.33 percent, to 1,505.06 and the Nasdaq Composite
dropped 3.24 points or 0.1 percent, to 3,151.06.
The top performing sectors on the S&P 500 were healthcare
and telecom services, both up more than 1
The equity gains have largely come on a strong start to
earnings season, though results were mixed on Tuesday with
Pfizer rising but Ford Motor Co dropping after its report.
Both companies reported profits that topped expectations,
but Ford also forecast a wider loss in its European segment.
Shares dropped 3.6 percent to $13.32 as one of the biggest
percentage losers on the S&P 500.
Thomson Reuters data showed that of the 174 companies in the
S&P 500 that have reported earnings this season, 68.4 percent
have been above analyst expectations, which is a higher
proportion than over the past four quarters and above the
average since 1994.
The Nasdaq was pressured by disappointing outlooks from
Seagate Technology and BMC Software. Seagate
shares lost 8.3 percent to $34.30 and BMC fell 8.5 percent to
Software maker VMware Inc lost 20 percent to $78.26
also after a cautious 2013 outlook.
Amazon was the biggest drag on the Nasdaq with a 2
percent drop to $270.57 before its results, expected after the
U.S. home prices rose in November to rack up their best
yearly gain since the housing crisis began, a further sign that
the sector is on the mend, but consumer confidence fell to its
lowest level in more than a year in the wake of higher taxes for