Digesting votes of confidence from several compelling sources, investors bid up the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES:^DJI), which rallied 123 points, or 0.8%, to close at 15,215 Tuesday.
One compelling source of confidence came from small-business owners, who in April were more optimistic about the economy than any time in the past six months. The second, arguably more influential catalyst of the day was David Tepper, the top-earning hedge fund manager last year. His enthusiastic comments about America's future on CNBC today sent markets markedly higher.
And in no sector was Tepper's influence clearer than financials, where the Dow's top gainer, Bank of America (NYSE:BAC), resides. Shares surged 2.8% Tuesday after Tepper said Citigroup (NYSE: C) was his biggest holding and that he also held other domestic financials. On top of that, the threat from ongoing litigation continues to diminish in the sector, as today's news that a big lawsuit against Goldman Sachs (NYSE: GS) was thrown out buoyed shares.
Piggybacking on the financial rally was American Express (NYSE:AXP), which ended as the second-biggest blue chip gainer, adding 2.5%. Today's advances bring the credit card giant's year-to-date returns to nearly 25%, and the stock reached 52-week intraday highs today. Apart from the rally in financials, which were up 1.5% Tuesday, there wasn't much to report.
Boeing's (NYSE:BA) stock tacked on more than 1.4% Tuesday, as it's officially back in the 787 business. After several serious problems with the battery system in January that caused two different flights to be grounded, the company stopped deliveries for four months. Boeing dramatically redesigned its battery, even though investigators never figured out the core issue.
Despite the broad rally, technology had an extremely tough day and nearly closed in the red. Intel (NASDAQ:INTC) slipped 1% and was one of just three companies in the Dow to fall. One cause: Research firm IDC said today it expects IT spending to decelerate in 2013, and PC spending to fall 3% this year for a third straight decline.