Dow, S&P 500 hit new highs; investors confident in rally

Traders work on the floor at the New York Stock Exchange, May 15, 2013. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

Traders work on the floor at the New York Stock Exchange, May 15, 2013. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

NEW YORK - Stocks edged up on Wednesday, with the Dow and S&P 500 hitting new all-time highs as the market's recent upward momentum persisted, but a steep decline in Apple (AAPL.O) kept gains in check.

The day's gains were broad, with eight of the S&P 500's 10 sectors trading higher. Among the top gainers were the S&P consumer staples index .SPLRCS, up 0.8 percent. In contrast, the S&P energy index .SPNY slid 0.8 percent and was the S&P 500's biggest decliner.

Further strengthening the rally, an options gauge looking at the level of anxiety showed signs that investors are placing optimistic wagers on the stock market, positioning for the current run-up to extend for the next three months.

The S&P 500 and the Nasdaq have risen for four straight sessions, extending their gains for the year. Equities have rallied in recent weeks as investors bet that central bank stimulus measures will keep supporting market gains.

By Angela Moon (Reuters) | Wed May 15, 2013 2:55pm EDT

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