NEW YORK - Stocks rose in a holiday-shortened trading day Tuesday, helped by a report that showed American companies were investing in their businesses at the fastest pace since January.
Markets were open for just half a day ahead of the Christmas holiday, and trading volume was extremely light. Roughly 1.3 billion shares changed hands on the New York Stock Exchange, a third of what is traded on a regular day. It was the slowest day of the year.
Materials and industrial stocks rose more than the rest of the market after the government reported that orders for long-lasting manufactured products rose 3.5 percent in November, more than economists expected. Core capital goods, a category that tracks business investment, jumped 4.5 percent, the biggest gain since January.
DuPont, of Wilmington, rose $1.09, or 2 percent, to $63.83 and construction equipment maker Caterpillar gained 95 cents, or 1 percent, to $90.91.
The Dow Jones industrial average rose 62.94 points, or 0.39 percent, to 16,357.55. The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose 5.33 points, or 0.29 percent, to 1,833.32 and the Nasdaq composite rose 6.51 points, or 0.16 percent, to 4,155.42.
The last five days of gains have added to what has been a historic year for stock market investors. The S&P 500 index is up 28.6 percent for 2013, or 30.9 when dividends are included, its best year since 1997.
With four trading days left in the year, many traders expect stocks to continue higher until New Year's Eve.
Still, few investors expect stocks to continue to rise at this pace through 2014. On average, market strategists with the major investment banks expect the S&P 500 to rise to 1,900 by the end of 2014, barely above where the index is trading at now.
Homebuilder stocks mostly rose after the government reported that new home sales dipped in November, but revised up figures for the previous three months. Beazer Homes rose 62 cents, or 3 percent, to $24.03 and D.R. Horton rose 16 cents, or 0.8 percent, to $21.29. Horsham-based Toll Bros. fell 15 cents, or 0.4 percent, to $36.66.
Bond prices fell on the latest positive news on the U.S. economy. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note, a benchmark for many kinds of loans including home mortgages, rose to 2.99 percent from 2.93 percent the day before.