The Dow Jones Industrial Average came off its high of 12,020 points this morning and finished with a gain of 0.07 percent to close at 11,985.44, its highest mark in 29 months.
U.S. stocks continue to posted moderate gains, while the commodities markets showed larger advances.
The stock price rise came in the wake of some strong earnings reports, last night's announcement by President Obama of an austere spending plans in his State of the Union address. Equities appear to have shrugged off a rather lukewarm economic assessment by the FOMC, and a housing report showing less-then-expected sales of new homes in the U.S. for all of 2010 (although December sales rose nicely).
The S&P 500 index and the Nasdaq finished the day with gains of 0.42 percent and 0.74 percent, respectively.
Boeing Co. (NYSE: BA) dropped 3.07 percent after reporting 8 percent drop in sales for the fourth quarter.(NYSE: DD) gained 2.61 percent on its far better-than-expected earnings report of 50 cents per share for 2010.
Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT) rose 1.16 percent, despite analysts’ expectations of a 7 percent drop in earnings in the second quarter. Lowe’s Cos. (NYSE: LOW) rose 1.13 percent as it announced plans to eliminate 1,700 managerial jobs.
Walt Disney Co. (NYSE: DIS) shares lost 1.05 percent as some investors speculated that it could be an acquisition target by Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: APPL).
Bonds fell as the 10-year Treasury yield edged up to 3.43 percent.
Oil finished with a 1.71 percent gain after two days of losses, while gold finished up 0.71 percent.
The largest gains came in commodities, especially in livestock and energy, as the FOMC announced it would keep the overnight rate target unchanged at 0 to 25 basis points.
Tomorrow, investors will wait on earnings announcements by Amazon.com (Nasdaq: AMZN), AT&T (NYSE: T), Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT) Caterpillar Inc. (NYSE: CAT) and Proctor and Gamble Co. (NYSE: PG).