Closing Bell

Great Plains Energy, Kansas City Life, Waddell & Reed close higher on record day

Updated: 2013-05-07T21:20:53Z

Most regional stocks treated Wall Street’s record-setting day as a ho-hum affair.

On a day that saw the Dow Jones industrial average close above 15,000 for the first time, most regional stocks finished lower. Among those retreating were YRC, down 7.5 percent, H&R Block, down 1.8 percent, and Cerner, down .7 percent.

YRC fell after a brief, but heady runup over the past two trading days that saw its shares more than 80 percent.

On the plus side, Great Plains Energy gained 1.8 percent, Waddell & Reed climbed .7 percent, and Kansas City Life finished 2.2 percent higher.

Meanwhile the Dow Jones industrial average charged higher Tuesday, closing above 15,000 for the first time.

It was another milestone in the market's epic ascent of 2013. Good economic reports, strong corporate earnings and fresh support from central banks have eased investors' concerns about another economic slowdown. Many had been on the lookout for signs that a spring swoon would derail the rally, as happened in each of the past three years.

Instead, Wall Street has climbed almost 15 percent since Jan. 1.

“The thing that's been driving stocks is rising confidence,” said James Paulsen, chief investment strategist at Wells Capital Management. “Economic growth, job creation and the housing market have been better than expected.”

News of stronger hiring over the past three months briefly propelled the Dow over 15,000 on Friday, but it ended the week below that mark.

Wall Street followed Japanese and European markets higher after they responded to good news about central bank stimulus and the German economy. In the U.S., the market got a lift from higher quarterly profits at satellite TV company DirecTV and watchmaker Fossil.

The Dow closed at 15,056.20, up 87.31 points, or 0.6 percent. The Standard & Poor's 500 index added 8.46 points to 1,625.96, a gain of 0.5 percent. Both indexes reached all-time highs earlier this year, then kept climbing, largely driven by optimism that the U.S. economy will continue gaining strength.

The gains piled up with the growing realization among investors that the traditional threats to a rising market – higher interest rates, falling profits, a possible recession – are unlikely to appear anytime soon. What's more, with interest rates near record lows, they see few other places to put their money.

In a round of interviews on Monday, investor Warren Buffett said the stock market looked “reasonably priced” even after its surge. But, Buffett added, people pay too much attention to markets reaching new highs. They ought to pay attention when markets hit new lows.

“That's when stocks are getting cheaper,” Buffett said. “That's when stocks are going on sale. But people do get more excited when they see new highs.”

Record-high profits have also encouraged investors who fretted that slumping sales would lead to shrinking earnings. More than 400 of the S&P 500 companies have turned in first-quarter results, and more than seven out of 10 have beaten Wall Street's earnings expectations, according to S&P Capital IQ. Those analysts estimate that earnings increased 5 percent in the first quarter and will pick up their pace through the rest of the year.

In other trading, the Nasdaq composite rose 3.66 points to 3,396.63, up 0.1 percent.

The BATS 1000 rose 120.22 points, or 0.66 percent, to close at 18,344.36.

Regional stocks

Capitol Federal Financial rose 8 cents, or 0.67%, to close at $11.96.

Cerner Corp. fell 63 cents, or 0.66%, to close at $94.96.

Commerce Bancshares Inc. rose 61 cents, or 1.51%, to close at $40.97.

Compass Minerals rose 16 cents, or 0.18%, to close at $87.25.

DST Systems Inc. fell 2 cents, or 0.03%, to close at $69.10.

Ferrellgas Partners L.P. rose 13 cents, or 0.65%, to close at $20.22.

Garmin Ltd. rose 26 cents, or 0.74%, to close at $35.54.

Great Plains Energy rose 42 cents, or 1.77%, to close at $24.17.

H&R Block Inc. fell 50 cents, or 1.76%, to close at $27.96.

Inergy L.P. rose 22 cents, or 0.93%, to close at $23.97.

Kansas City Life Insurance Co. rose 80 cents, or 2.19%, to close at $37.35.

Kansas City Southern rose 63 cents, or 0.58%, to close at $109.86.

Layne Christensen Co. fell 13 cents, or 0.64%, to close at $20.27.

O'Reilly Automotive Inc. rose 51 cents, or 0.46%, to close at $110.78.

Sprint Nextel Corp. rose 2 cents, or 0.28%, to close at $7.22.

UMB Financial Corp. rose 5 cents, or 0.10%, to close at $50.83.

Waddell & Reed Financial Corp. rose 32 cents, or 0.73%, to close at $43.97.

YRC Worldwide Inc. fell $1.15, or 7.45%, to close at $14.29.

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