Dow close highest of year

NEW YORK – The Dow rose to its highest close of the year, putting it within 1 percent of its record. Stocks gained after impressive results from two big consumer brands.

The Dow Jones industrial average closed up 47.46 to 14,018.70 Tuesday. That is 146 points from its record close of 14,164.53 set in October 2007. The Standard & Poor’s 500 gained 2.42 points to 1,519.43, also close to its record.

In a quiet day of trade, stocks were driven higher by beauty products maker Avon and luxury clothing and accessories company Michael Kors, whose results impressed investors. Consumer spending accounts for 70 percent of economic activity in the United States.

Financial and home building stocks also lifted stocks, led by Bank of America and Masco Corp, which notched some of the day’s biggest gains.

The Dow has surged at the start of the year, logging its best January in almost two decades, after lawmakers reached a last-minute deal to avoid the “fiscal cliff” of sweeping tax increases and spending cuts. Investors are also becoming more optimistic that the housing market is recovering and that hiring is picking up.

The Dow has now advanced 7 percent this year, and the S&P 500 is up 6.6 percent.

The 30-member Dow has now closed above 14,000 twice this month. Before February, the index had closed above that level just nine times in its history. The first time was in July 2007; the rest were in October of that year.

Avon’s stock price jumped $3.51, or 20 percent, to $20.79 after the company posted a fourth-quarter loss that wasn’t as bad as analysts expected. The company also hopes to save $400 million by slashing costs. Michael Kors rose $5, or 9 percent, to $62 after reporting earnings that beat analysts’ predictions.