NEW YORK — Stocks edged higher on Wall Street on Tuesday, helped by a report that showed American companies were investing in their businesses at the fastest pace since January.
Trading was quiet ahead of the Christmas holiday. U.S. markets will close early on Tuesday and will remain closed on Wednesday.
Bond prices fell on the latest positive news on the U.S. economy. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note, a benchmark for many kinds of loans including home mortgages, moved closer to 3 percent.
KEEPING SCORE: The Dow Jones industrial average rose 41 points, or 0.3 percent, to 16,335 as of 10:57 a.m. Eastern. The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose four points, or 0.2 percent, to 1,832 and the Nasdaq composite rose two points, or 0.1 percent, to 4,151.
TESLA BOOST: Tesla Motors jumped $9.60, or 7 percent, to $153.12. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration kept its 5-star safety rating on the company's Model S sedan, despite recent reports of battery-related fires. There have been no reported injuries or deaths related to any Tesla car fires.
HOME SALES: Homebuilder stocks rose after the government reported that new home sales rose at a faster pace than analysts were expecting last month. Lennar rose 54 cents, to 1.5 percent, to $39.31 and PulteGroup was up 16 cents, or 1 percent, to $19.87.
GOODS ORDERS: Orders for long-lasting manufactured products rose 3.5 percent in November, more than economists were expecting. It was the latest sign of improvement in the U.S. economy. Core capital goods, a category that tracks business investment, jumped 4.5 percent, the biggest gain since January.
FIVE DAYS OF GAINS: Stocks have been rising steadily since Wednesday, after the Federal Reserve surprised investors by announcing it was cutting back its bond-buying program, or "tapering" it, as it's sometimes called on Wall Street. The Fed will reduce its bond purchases to $75 billion a month beginning in January, down from $85 billion.
TIME TO PULL AWAY THE SAFETY NET?: "If the data keeps being this positive, it could force Fed to taper more quickly and pull away this safety net the market has had," said Uri Landesman, president of the hedge fund Platinum Partners. Landesman said he expects 2014 to more volatile for the stock market.
BOND YIELDS: The yield on the 10-year Treasury note rose to 2.97 percent from 2.93 percent the day before. Treasury yields have been climbing steadily since the Fed's announcement last Wednesday.
TARGET'S WOES CONTINUE: Target fell 33 cents, or 1 percent, to $61.55 after the company said Monday night that the U.S. Justice Department is investigating the credit and debit card security breach at the company. Target revealed last week that data connected to about 40 million credit and debit card accounts were stolen between Nov. 27 and Dec. 15. Target executives have been meeting with state attorneys general to discuss the matter.
EARLY CLOSE: The New York Stock Exchange and the Nasdaq Stock Market will close at 1 p.m. Eastern time on Tuesday. The exchanges will also be closed on Christmas Day and will reopen for a full day of trading on Thursday.