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Nasdaq posts all-time closing high as stocks shrug off dismal ISM data

U.S. stocks closed higher Tuesday, led by energy, as Wall Street despite shockingly weak economic data while keeping an eye on oil prices.

The Dow Jones industrial average closed about 45 point higher, with Chevron and Boeing contributing the most gains.

"I think we're in a lull," said Daniel Deming, managing director at KKM Financial. "I think the market is still digesting last week's numbers ... and there's just not a catalyst right now."

The Nasdaq composite closed 0.5 percent higher at a new all-time high of 5,275.91 — also a fresh intraday high — as the iShares Nasdaq Biotechnology ETF (IBB) gained more than 1 percent.

"The market is discounting the easier comparisons that are coming for the third quarter, and you can put that at the feet of oil," said Maris Ogg, president at Tower Bridge Advisors. "$45 is not much, but it's better than $25."

The S&P 500 gained about 0.3 percent, with energy rising more than 1.5 percent. The three indexes fell into negative territory shortly after the ISM data were released.

Ernie Cecilia, CIO at Bryn Mawr Trust, said "M&A activity in the energy is helping." Spectra Energy is being bought out by Canadian pipeline firm Enbridge for $28 billion.

Other corporate news that hit the tape Tuesday included Bayer raising its bid for Monsanto to $127.50 per share from $125, and molecular diagnostics firm Cepheid announced it's being bought out by Danaher for $53 per shares.

Tuesday was the first trading day of the week for U.S. stocks, after the U.S. Labor Day holiday.

"I'm impressed by the stock market's resilience. I would've expected a more negative reaction," said Kate Warne, investment strategist at Edward Jones. "I think the reason the market is being resilient is because [ISM] lowers the expectations that the Fed will make any sudden moves."

The ISM non-manufacturing PMI index for August came in at 51.4, the lowest read since early 2010...