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* Caterpillar lifts Dow; German data points to growth
* Dow, S&P 500 also hit all-time intraday highs
* Apple shares slip after gaining for three days
* Dow up 0.6 pct; S&P 500 up 0.5 pct; Nasdaq up 0.1 pct
By Caroline Valetkevitch
NEW YORK, May 7 (Reuters) - The Dow closed above 15,000 for the first time on Tuesday and the S&P 500 ended at another record high, extending the market's rally as more investors rushed to join the party and German industrial data beat expectations.
It was the fourth straight record close for the S&P 500. Both the Dow and the S&P 500 hit intraday record highs as well.
"People are concerned they're missing the boat if they're not fully invested in the stock market right now," said Eric Kuby, chief investment officer of North Star Investment Management Corp., in Chicago.
Nine of the S&P 500's 10 sector indexes advanced. Shares of JPMorgan Chase, up 2 percent at $49.14, led the S&P 500's climb.
Caterpillar rose 2.5 percent to $89.79 and ranked as the Dow's top percentage gainer.
Information technology bucked the trend, however, with Apple shares declining after three days of gains. The stock ended down 0.4 percent at $458.66, while the S&P 500 technology index dipped 0.2 percent.
Investors' sentiment was buoyed early in the day by data from Germany, Europe's largest economy, which reported a 2.2 percent increase in industrial orders in March, compared with expectations for a drop of 0.5 percent.
"Markets haven't really been anticipating much of a recovery in Europe ... If we see any type of slight improvement in the euro-zone economy, it may add more fuel to the strong move we've already seen in equities," said Sean Lynch, global investment strategist for Wells Fargo Private Bank in Omaha, Nebraska.
The Dow Jones industrial average rose 87.31 points, or 0.58 percent, to close at a record 15,056.20. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index gained 8.46 points, or 0.52 percent, to end at 1,625.96. The Nasdaq Composite Index advanced 3.66 points, or 0.11 percent, to close at 3,396.63.
During the session, the Dow hit an all-time intraday high at 15,056.67, while the S&P 500 touched a record intraday high at 1,626.03.
For the year so far, the S&P 500 has climbed 14 percent.
After the bell, shares of Whole Foods rose 8.4 percent to $100.60 after it reported a higher second-quarter profit. Shares of department store chain J.C. Penney gained 1.5 percent to $16.65 in extended-hours trading after it reported preliminary first-quarter results.
In regular trading, the energy sector was driven higher by U.S. oil and gas producer EOG Resources Inc, which climbed 7.7 percent to $135.69. The stock ranked as the S&P 500's second-biggest percentage gainer a day after EOG Resources reported first-quarter earnings that topped Wall Street's expectations.
The S&P energy sector index gained 0.7 percent.
The U.S. stock market's gains so far have come on strong corporate results and accommodative monetary policies from the Federal Reserve, two factors that may now be priced into markets. Last week's jobs report was unexpectedly strong and helped to drive stocks' advance.
Stocks this year have gone without a sustained pullback as investors use any market decline to add to positions.
Many analysts expect markets to trend higher, but some see a near-term pullback, citing a lack of positive catalysts and mixed economic data.
Both Fossil Inc and DirecTV reported earnings that surged beyond expectations. Fossil's stock jumped 9 percent to $107.88 and ranked as the No. 1 percentage gainer in the S&P 500. DirecTV shares shot up 6.9 percent to $61.95.
Earnings have largely been better than expected. About 68.5 percent of S&P 500 companies have surpassed estimates so far. At the same time, revenues have been disappointing.
Volume was roughly 5.8 billion shares traded on the New York Stock Exchange, the Nasdaq and the NYSE MKT, below the average daily closing volume of about 6.4 billion this year.
Advancers outnumbered decliners on the NYSE by a ratio of more than 3 to 1, while on the Nasdaq, five stocks rose for every three that fell.