NEW YORK — Reassuring comments from a Federal Reserve official and better earnings from two big retailers helped push the stock market higher Tuesday.
James Bullard, head of the Fed's St. Louis branch, told an audience in Germany that the Fed ought to stick with its bond-buying effort to bolster the economic recovery.
"Those words were a salve for investors' nerves," said Lawrence Creatura, a fund manager at Federated Investors. Other Fed officials have recently talked about scaling back the program. "There's a lot of uncertainty surrounding this issue. And uncertainty and investors aren't always a happy match."
The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 52.30 points to 15,387.58, a gain of 0.3 percent. The Standard & Poor's 500 index edged up 2.87 points to 1,669.16, a slight increase of 0.2 percent. Both the Dow and the S&P are at record highs. The Nasdaq composite rose 5.69 points to 3,502.12, a 0.2 percent gain.
JPMorgan Chase gained 1.4 percent as shareholders of the country's biggest bank voted to allow Jamie Dimon to keep his two titles, CEO and chairman of the board. Groups had pushed to split the two jobs, a drive that gained momentum from a multibillion-dollar trading loss last year. The bank's stock rose 73 cents to $53.02.
Home Depot surged 2.5 percent, up $1.95 to $78.71. The retailer reported an 18 percent increase in quarterly income as the housing market continued to recover.
The price of gold fell $6.50 to $1,377.60 an ounce, extending a slump that has knocked gold down 18 percent this year. Tame inflation, a stronger dollar and a surging stock market have undermined gold's appeal.