The Dow Closed Above 13,000

U.S. stocks gained on Tuesday, with the Dow finishing above 13,000 for the first time since May 2008, after an index showed consumer confidence at a 12-month high and oil prices slid. The Dow average rose 23.61 points, or 0.18%, to 13,005.12. The S&P 500 gained 4.59 points, or 0.34%, to 1,372.18, its fourth straight session of gains. The Nasdaq Composite added 20.60 points, or 0.69%, to 2,986.76, also its fourth day of gains.

Consumer confidence is the highest in a year, with more optimism about jobs, the Conference Board reported Tuesday. The research group’s gauge of U.S. consumer confidence rose to 70.8 in February from 61.5 in January. A prior estimate for January pegged the level at 61.1.

Crude-oil futures closed below $107 a barrel on Tuesday to log a second straight session of losses after data on durable-goods orders and home prices showed declines, dulling the prospects for oil demand. Crude for April delivery (NMN:CLJ2)  declined $2.01, or 1.9%, to settle at $106.55 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

Apple is expected to unveil a new version of the iPad at an event in San Francisco next week. Apple sent out invitations to news media on Tuesday with an image showing part of an iPad screen. The company had been widely expected to reveal the third version of its popular tablet computer soon, close to the anniversary of the launch of the iPad 2.

First Solar Inc. (NASDAQ:FSLR) said late Tuesday that its fourth-quarter loss widened to $4.78 a share from $1.80 a share in the year- ago period. Revenue rose to $660 million from $610 million last year. The company also expects 2012 sales of $3.5 billion to $3.8 billion, down from a previous forecast of $3.7 billion to $4 billion.

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