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S&P 500 sets a new all-time high amid Q3 corporate earnings

stockU.S. stocks advanced, pushing the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index to a new record high, amid speculation grew that the Federal Reserve will maintain the pace of stimulus and as companies release their earnings for the third quarter.

S&P 500 pulled up to a fresh record, as many investors evaluate damage done to the U.S. economy by the government shutdown could be a reason for the Fed to keep its easy-money policies in place longer than would have otherwise been the case.

The S&P 500 soared 0.7% to 1,733.15 at 4 p.m. in New York, beating the previous record of 1,725.52 from September 18. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 2.18 points to 15,371.65, slowed down by the significant declines of IBM and Goldman Sachs. About 6.6 billion shares changed hands on U.S. exchanges, 12 percent above the three-month average.

“Generally speaking, were going to get back to stock picking,” said Dan McMahon, director of equity trading at Raymond James. “Now, its all about earnings.”

A report yesterday showed Americans in October were the most pessimistic about the nation’s economic prospects in almost two years as concern mounted that continued government shutdown will hurt the economy growth.

In corporate news, Verizon Communications Inc. added 3.5% to $48.90, the highest since August. The second-largest U.S. phone company reported profit that exceeded projections as its mobile-phone business fueled gains in sales and profit, supporting its decision last month to pay $130 billion for Vodafone Group Plc’s share of the joint venture.

Newmont Mining soared 4.6% to $27.06. Gold rallied the most in four weeks on speculation the Fed will postpone slowing stimulus. The metal is set for the first annual drop in 13 years as some investors lost faith in the metal as a store of value and on earlier speculation the Fed would slow debt purchases this year.

Peabody Energy Corp. surged 3.9% to $18.58. The largest U.S. coal producer posted a surprise third-quarter profit after a recovery in domestic prices for coal used to generate electricity and a reduction in mining costs.

IBM plunged 6.4% to $174.83 for the biggest drop in the Dow as its third-quarter revenue fell 4% to $23.7 billion.

Goldman Sachs declined 2.4% to $158.32. The world’s most profitable securities firm before the financial crisis said earnings were little changed as the bank cut costs in response to a 20% drop in revenue.

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