Thursday's abbreviated session for the stock market wasn't short on excitement, as major-market benchmarks hit new records again on much better than expected U.S. employment news. With the Dow Jones Industrial Average climbing above 17,000 for the first time and the S&P 500 seemingly on a collision course for the 2,000 mark, stocks hitting new yearly highs were prevalent again today. Among the more noteworthy gainers were Caterpillar (NYSE:CAT), Weyerhaeuser (NYSE:WY), and Tata Motors (NYSE:TTM).
Heavy-equipment maker Caterpillar rose almost 1.5% on significant attention from investors because of the stock's contribution to the Dow's advance over the past eight months. Caterpillar has struggled for years with less than stellar conditions in its primary markets, with construction activity falling from peak levels and the mining sector seeing its prospects plunge after a huge drop in commodity prices last year. Caterpillar's construction-equipment business, though, has become increasingly stronger, and that has encouraged shareholders that the worst might be behind the blue-chip stock.
Forest products giant Weyerhaeuser gained about 1% following the release of early results from its stock exchange offer with respect to the spinoff of its Weyerhaeuser Real Estate homebuilding business. Weyerhaeuser gave investors the option to exchange Weyerhaeuser shares for shares of Weyerhaeuser Real Estate, with those choosing the exchange option receiving slightly more than 17 shares for every 10 Weyerhaeuser shares they offered. The plan is for the real-estate business to merge with Tri Pointe Homes, under which shareholders will receive nearly 1.3 shares of Tri Pointe stock for every Weyerhaeuser Real Estate share they own. The result will be that Weyerhaeuser will give purer exposure to the timber and forest-products space while giving those interested in the homebuilding business the choice to stay invested in that business.
Tata Motors climbed nearly 2.5% as investors reacted to reports early this week of the Indian automaker's June sales figures. Domestically, Tata's vehicle sales fell sharply, leading to a 27% overall drop in the number of vehicles sold during the month. But Tata Motors continued to see foreign strength for its Jaguar Land Rover division, with sales rising 3.8% for the best June jump in seven years. In particular, the Range Rover Sport saw sales soar 67%, and even though Jaguar itself saw volume declines, consumers continue to gravitate toward the company's SUV offerings. With prospects for faster economic growth in India, Tata has several opportunities to produce further gains from current levels.