* Travelers stock up after results, leads Dow industrials
* 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 (Reuters) - Bank and commodity shares led
the benchmark Standard & Poor's 500 Index to a fresh five-year
closing high on Tuesday on hopes that the global economy
continues to mend.
Travelers' shares climbed after the insurer's results and
lifted the Dow Jones industrial average to a new five-year
On Friday, both the Dow and the S&P 500 ended at five-year
highs after the quarterly earnings season got off to a solid
start. On Monday, the U.S. stock market was closed in observance
of the Martin Luther King, Jr., holiday.
In Tuesday's session, the market also gained on signals that
Republican leaders in the U.S. House of Representatives aim on
Wednesday to pass a bill to extend the U.S. debt limit by nearly
four months to May 19. The White House welcomed the move, saying
it would remove uncertainty about the issue.
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
Tuesday's session marked the highest closes for both the Dow
and the S&P 500 since December 2007.
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 for the day. In comparison, the S&P energy sector
index, the S&P financials index and the S&P
basic materials index each gained 0.9 percent.
But Google shares rose 4.8 percent to above $736 in
extended-hours trading after the world's No. 1 search engine
reported a jump in fourth-quarter revenue. Shares of IBM
added more than 4 percent to trade above $204 after the world's
largest technology services company reported earnings and
revenue that beat estimates.
"We expected Q4 for many tech vendors would be weak because
we were expecting a lot of companies sitting on their wallets
until it became clear what was going to become of the fiscal
cliff," Forrester analyst Andrew Bartels said about IBM.
"Given the fact it's Q4 and the cloud of fiscal cliff within
it, it's a positive indication that especially tech software
will be doing better in the next couple of months."
During the regular session, shares of blue chips Travelers,
DuPont, and Verizon Communications rose following
Travelers rose 2.2 percent to $77.95, a closing high.
DuPont's shares gained 1.8 percent to $47.82. 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 9 to 4. On the Nasdaq, five stocks rose for every three
Signs of improved sentiment toward world growth were also
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.