Major indices closed the day up amid strong profit reports by big players such as Berkshire Hathaway Inc. and Tyson Foods Inc. Retail, fashion apparel and beauty shares mostly missed the rally with many companies closing the day in the red.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 both gain 0.3 percent to close at 18,070 and 2,114, respectively, while the Nasdaq increased 0.23 percent to finish at 5,016.
Declining stocks in the retail sector included Abercrombie &Fitch Inc., which fell 3.2 percent to $21.78, while L Brands Inc. shed 1.2 percent to close at $90.57. Dillards Inc. dropped 1.7 percent to close the day at $131.07. The gainers included American Eagle Outfitters Inc., which advanced 3.5 percent to $16.51, and Wal-Mart Stores Inc., which rose 0.7 percent to $79.18.
“With nothing negative coming from overseas, you’re seeing a continuation of the positive price action from Friday afternoon,” said Michael James, a Los Angeles-based managing director of equity trading at Wedbush Securities Inc. “We still have a pretty heavy slate of earnings this entire week, with a number of high-profile companies reporting, that’ll probably be the focus for the next several days.”
Of the S&P 500 members that have already released results this season, 73 percent beat profit projections and 49 percent topped sales estimates. Analysts have tempered their predictions for a corporate profit slump, now projecting a first-quarter drop of 0.4 percent, compared with April 17 calls for a 4.3 percent decline.
Factory orders jumped 2.1 percent in March, the biggest gain since July. Investors are watching the data for clues as to when the Federal Reserve will start raising interest rates.
The central bank left open the possibility of an increase this year even amid weak growth data. A private employment report is due on Wednesday, before the monthly jobs release on Friday.
Economists forecast a 225,000 increase in April non-farm payrolls, and a one-tenth decline in the unemployment rate to 5.4 percent. If payroll growth returns to trend, forecasters and monetary policy makers will more firmly embrace the view that first-quarter weakness was transitory.