Stock Market Today: Stocks Rise but Advance Is Tepid

Tickers in this article: EXPR TIF ^DJI ^GSPC ^IXIC

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- U.S. stock indices flitted in and out of positive territory Wednesday afternoon after the S&P 500's trip above 2,000, as the markets caught their breath in the absence of any new economic catalysts.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 0.07% to 17,119.23. The S&P was up 0.02% to 2,000.39. The Nasdaq was up 0.02% to 4,571.47.

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Market watchers are generally convinced that the markets will continue to grind higher thanks to the reassurances of many more years of ultra-low interest rates in the U.S. and accommodative policy in Europe, and improving corporate performances with help from the Federal Reserve, but increasingly on their own merits.

Watch the video below for a closer look at how the markets are doing in midday trading Wednesday:


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"Earnings are just getting better," said Karyn Cavanaugh, senior market strategist with Voya Investment Management. "The Fed has helped, but companies going out there and growing their profits has been the catalyst for the market."

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Historical market statistics suggest a general trend higher after major psychological and technical breakthroughs are achieved. Chad Gassaway, an equities trader at Grace Trading, recently posted his study showing that the S&P 500 was, on average, positive almost 79% of the time two weeks after its first close above a big round number, 89% of the time three months after, and 82% of the time one year later.

With the S&P also just coming off a 4% pullback, Raymond James' chief investment strategist Jeffrey Saut added that the average gain following at least a 4% pullback since the last 10% correction in 2012 has been 12.13%. As of Tuesday's high, the market has rallied only about 5%.

"We may still have some room to run if history decides to rhyme this time," said Saut.

Companies grabbing the headlines Wednesday include Tiffany . The stock popped 0.85% to $101.63 after the luxury jewelry retailer posted better-than-expected second-quarter earnings of 96 cents and raised its full-year earnings outlook to $4.20 to $4.30 a share. Express surged 12.27% to $16.38 after beating earnings expectations and hiking its full-year outlook to between 85 cents and 95 cents a share.

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--By Andrea Tse in New York

Follow @AndreaTTse