US stocks close higher, giving S&P 500 index a fourth straight gain; Hillshire soars on offer

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NEW YORK, N.Y. – Stocks are closing higher, giving the Standard & Poor’s 500 index its fourth gain in a row.

Investors were encouraged by a report that orders for big-ticket items unexpectedly rose last month and an increase in consumer confidence.

The S&P 500 gained 11 points, or 0.6 per cent, to close at 1,911 Tuesday. It had its first close above 1,900 points on Friday.

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 69 points, or 0.4 per cent, to 16,675. The Nasdaq composite rose 51 points, or 1.2 per cent, to 4,237.

U.S. markets were closed Monday for Memorial Day.

Hillshire Brands, the maker of Jimmy Dean breakfast sausage, jumped 22 per cent after poultry producer Pilgrim’s Pride offered to acquire the company.

Bond prices rose. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell to 2.51 per cent.

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