NEW YORK – There weren’t any major economic developments or blockbuster earnings, but that didn’t stop investors from pushing the Dow Jones industrial average to another record Wednesday.
Instead, investors focused on the big economic news yet to come this week – third-quarter U.S. economic growth on today and the October jobs report Friday. Both reports could signal how much longer the Federal Reserve will continue its $85 billion a month in bond purchases. That program has held down interest rates, kept bond yields low and made stocks more attractive for investors.
The Dow notched its 33rd record close for the year, rising to 15,746.88 with some help from Microsoft, which rose after analysts at Nomura said investors should focus on how the company’s fortunes could improve once it picks a replacement for CEO Steve Ballmer.
Other indexes also gained, but not as much.
The Standard & Poor’s 500 index also went up, but not quite enough to set another record. The Nasdaq composite and the Russell 2000, an index of small-company stocks, edged lower.
The patchy performance of the overall market suggests that investors may be getting wary of stocks after this year’s strong gains, said Sam Stovall, chief equity strategist at S&P Capital IQ.
Stovall said he did not think the market’s advance was in danger of being derailed but said “investors are still a little bit nervous.”
The Dow climbed 128.66 points, or 0.8 percent. The S&P 500 index rose 7.52, or 0.4 percent, to 1,770.49, just one point below its all-time high set Oct. 29. It’s up 24 percent so far this year.
The Nasdaq composite fell 7.92 points, or 0.2 percent, to 3,931.95. The index reached a 13-year high at the end of last month.
The Dow record came a day before one of Wall Street’s most anticipated events of 2013, Twitter’s initial public offering. The stock was expected to debut on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol “TWTR.”
If this week’s growth and employment reports offer weak signals on the economy, they could foretell a longer period of Fed stimulus.
In other news Wednesday, Ralph Lauren was among the biggest gainers in the S&P 500.
The luxury retailer rose $9.33, or 5.5 percent, to $180.52 after raising its sales forecast for the year in anticipation of a strong holiday season. Ralph Lauren also increased its quarterly dividend by 12.5 percent to 45 cents.
Tesla Motors was among the biggest decliners in the Nasdaq. The electric carmaker’s stock sank $25.65, or 14.5 percent, to $151.16 after it reported a loss. Analysts had been expecting a profit. The stock is still up almost 350 percent this year after the company turned a profit and won raves for its Model S sedan, which starts at $70,000.
In government bond trading, the yield on the 10-year note fell Tuesday to 2.65 percent from 2.67 percent.