Saturday, Oct 25, 2014

Wall St edges up; Dow, S&P 500 hit records

Reuters | Posted: May 13, 2014 9:55 pm

U.S. stocks rose modestly on Tuesday, with the Dow and S&P 500 both inching to record levels despite economic data that painted a mixed picture of the economy.

The S&P rose above 1,900 for the first time, extending its year-to-date rise to 2.7 percent.

Retail sales rose 0.1 percent in April, less than expected, though March’s read was revised upward. Separately, April import prices fell 0.4 percent while export prices dropped 1 percent. Analysts were expecting both to have risen 0.3 percent.

“The retail number was weak, but last month was revised higher and there are few places to go other than equities in this market,” said James Liu, global market strategist at J.P. Morgan Funds in Chicago.

“Even though we’re at an all-time high, which is psychologically important, we’re not especially overstretched from a performance basis, given our gains this year. There’s still room for us to move to the upside.”

Homebuilders were among the biggest gainers on the day. D.R. Horton Inc rose 1.8 percent to $23 while Lennar Corp added 2.2 percent to $40.11 and PulteGroup Inc was up 2.1 percent at $19.24. The PHLX housing sector index rose 1 percent.

The Dow Jones industrial average was up 37.37 points, or 0.22 percent, at 16,732.84. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index was up 4.23 points, or 0.22 percent, at 1,900.88. The Nasdaq Composite Index was up 7.19 points, or 0.17 percent, at 4,151.05.

Gains this year have come on improving signs of domestic growth, though traders continue to worry about the pace of economic expansion as well as tensions between Ukraine and Russia, which many fear could escalate into further violence.

Keurig Green Mountain Inc was the S&P’s biggest gainer, up 9.9 percent to $121.64 after Coca-Cola Co raised its stake in the company to 16 percent from 10 percent.

DirecTV rose 1.5 percent to $88.48 a day after sources told Reuters AT&T Inc was in active talks to buy the company in a deal that could be worth close to $50 billion. AT&T fell 1.6 percent to $35.98.

In the latest from Ukraine, Russia said new European Union sanctions would hinder efforts to defuse the situation, urging the West to persuade Kiev to hold discussions on the country’s future structure before a May 25 presidential election.

China’s economic activity showed across-the-board weakness in April, with economic indicators on investment and consumption missing expectations. The data sparked new calls for Beijing to ease policies to shore up growth.

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