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Stocks close with strong gains

Trader Luigi Muccitelli, right, works on the floor

Trader Luigi Muccitelli, right, works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange last week. Alcoa kicked off the latest corporate quarterly earnings late April 8 by beating earnings expectations, thanks to strong demand from plane and auto builders. (April 4, 2013) Credit: AP

Materials and energy companies led the stock market higher Tuesday, sending the Dow Jones industrial average to its second all-time high in a week.

The Dow Jones industrial average closed up 59.98 to 14,673.46. The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose 0.35 percent to 1,568.61. The index closed at a record high of 1,570.25 on April 2. The Nasdaq composite gained 0.48 percent, to 3,237.86.

The prices of metals like copper, gold and silver have rebounded this week after slumping for the first three months of the year on waning demand. Oil is also rising following a sharp decline last week.

"You're seeing some pretty decent action in the overall market, with today's leadership coming from the basic materials sector," said Robert Pavlik, chief market strategist at Banyan Partners. "It's an area of the market that does represent some value because it's underperformed."

The rise in basic materials such as precious metals was caused by a weakening of the dollar against other currencies, HSBC analyst Howard Wen said. Commodities are typically priced in dollars and a decline in the currency lets overseas buyers purchase materials at lower prices.

The gains suggested that the Dow and S&P 500 may be poised to break out of a sideways trading pattern they've followed for the last three weeks. -- AP

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