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Dow hits fresh 5-year high ahead of Obama speech

In this Friday, Feb. 1, 2013, file photo, a specialist works at his post on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. The Dow is closing at its highest level of the year Tuesday, Feb. 12, 2013, coming within one percent of its record reached in October 2007. AP/RICHARD DREW

NEW YORK—The Dow blue-chip stock index climbed back above 14,000 to a fresh five-year high Tuesday as markets awaited President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 47.46 points (0.34 percent) at 14,018.70, its best close since October 10, 2007.

The S&P 500-stock index rose 2.42 points (0.16 percent) to 1,519.43, also reaching a new five-year peak.

The tech-rich Nasdaq Composite slipped 5.51 (0.17 percent) to 3,186.49, dragged down by Apple, the biggest tech stock, which lost 2.5 percent.

“Investors appeared content to wade in calm waters ahead of President Obama’s State of the Union Address tonight, as the broader markets finished the day near the flatline,” Charles Schwab & Co. said in a market note.

“But the blue-chip Dow got a boost from strength in financials and industrials.”

Investors will be watching Obama’s nationally televised speech at 9 p.m. (0200 GMT Wednesday) to gauge “content and tone as a guide for assessing the likelihood of avoiding sequestration slated to go into effect March 1,” said Patrick O’Hare of Briefing.com.

Dow gainers were led by Bank of America, up a hefty 3.3 percent, and Alcoa, up 1.8 percent, while Home Depot rose 1.4 percent after saying it was switching from the BlackBerry smartphone to Apple’s iPhone. BlackBerry dived 3.4 percent.

Dow component Coca-Cola tumbled 2.7 percent after reporting a 13 percent rise in fourth-quarter earnings from a year ago, beating Wall Street forecasts, but sales disappointed.

US Airways fell 1.3 percent amid speculation on its proposed merger with AMR Corp.’s bankrupt American Airlines to create the biggest US airline. The Wall Street Journal reported the boards of the two companies were set to meet Wednesday, with an announcement possible by Thursday.

United, the top airline, dropped 2.3 percent.

Beauty products company Avon soared 20.3 percent on better-than-expected earnings.

Goodyear Tire & Rubber slipped 0.4 percent after posting adjusted fourth-quarter earnings per share above analyst estimates but also disappointing sales and a lowered 2013 outlook.

Bond prices fell. The yield on the 10-year US Treasury rose to 1.98 percent from 1.95 percent Monday while the 30-year climbed to 3.19 percent from 3.15 percent. Bond prices and yields move inversely.

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