Hous­ing, job data push S&P to five-year high, In­tel down late

The Financial Daily - - INTERNATIONAL -

NEW YORK: Strongerthan-ex­pected data on hous­ing starts and job­less claims lit a fire un­der stocks, push­ing the S&P 500 to a five-year high and its third day of gains.A pair of eco­nomic re­ports lifted in­vestors' sen­ti­ment.

The num­ber of Amer­i­cans fil­ing new claims for un­em­ploy­ment ben­e­fits fell to a five-year low last week and hous­ing starts jumped last month to the high­est since June 2008. Strength in the hous­ing and la­bor mar­kets is key to sus­tained growth and higher cor­po­rate prof­its, help­ing to bring out buy­ers even on a day when earn­ings re­ports were mixed.

Gains were tem­pered by weak­ness in the fi­nan­cial sec­tor, with Bank of Amer­ica (BAC) down 4.2 per­cent to $11.28 and Cit­i­group off 2.9 per­cent to $41.24 af­ter their re­sults. In other neg­a­tive earn­ings news, shares of chip­maker In­tel fell 5.2 per­cent to $21.49 in ex­tended-hours trad­ing af­ter the com­pany fore­cast quar­terly rev­enue that fell short of an­a­lysts' ex­pec­ta­tions.

In­tel had ended the reg­u­lar ses­sion up 2.6 per­cent at $22.68. The S&P 500 ended at its high­est since De­cem­ber 2007 and now sits just 5.6 per­cent from its all-time clos­ing high of 1,565.15. "Hav­ing con­sol­i­dated re­ally for the last two weeks, the fact that we broke out, I think that that is suck­ing in quite a bit of money," said James Dai­ley, port­fo­lio man­ager of TEAM As­set Strat­egy Fund in Har­ri­urg, Penn­syl­va­nia.

The Dow Jones in­dus­trial av­er­age was up 84.79 points, or 0.63 per­cent, at 13,596.02. The Stan­dard & Poor's 500 In­dex was up 8.31 points, or 0.56 per­cent, at 1,480.94. The Nas­daq Com­pos­ite In­dex was up 18.46 points, or 0.59 per­cent, at 3,136.00.

Bet­ter- than- ex­pected earn­ings and rev­enue re­ported by on­line mar­ket­place eBay (EBAY) helped the stock gain 2.7 per­cent to $54.33. In the hous­ing sec­tor, Pul­teGroup Inc ( PHM) shares gained 4.9 per­cent to $20.29 and Toll Broth­ers Inc (TOL) ad­vanced 3.1 per­cent to $35.99. The PHLX hous­ing sec­tor in­dex (^HGX) climbed 2.4 per­cent, reach­ing its high­est close since Au­gust 2007.

Semi­con­duc­tor shares (.SOX) rose 2 per­cent to the high­est close in eight months. Fi­nan­cials were the only S&P 500 sec­tor to reg­is­ter a slight de­cline for the day. Bank of Amer­ica's fourth-quar­ter profit fell as it took more charges to clean up mort­gage-re­lated prob­lems. Cit­i­group posted $2.32 bil­lion of charges for lay­offs and law­suits.

En­ergy shares led gains on the Dow as U. S. crude oil prices jumped more than 1 per­cent. Shares of Exxon Mo­bil (XOM.N) were up 0.8 per­cent at $ 90.20 while shares of Chevron ( CVX. N) were up 0.7 per­cent at $114.75. S&P 500 earn­ings are ex­pected to have risen 2.3 per­cent in the fourth quar­ter

Ex­pec­ta­tions for the quar­ter have fallen con­sid­er­ably since Oc­to­ber when a 9.9 per­cent gain was es­ti­mated. Vol­ume was roughly 6.5 bil­lion shares traded on the New York Stock Ex­change, the Nas­daq and the NYSE MKT, com­pared with the 2012 av­er­age daily clos­ing vol­ume of about 6.45 bil­lion. Ad­vancers out­paced de­clin­ers on the NYSE by about 22 to 7 and on the Nas­daq by about 2 to 1. -DNA NORTH­ERN MALI: Tu­areg rebels have been in con­flict with the govern­ment since in­de­pen­dence.

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