US stocks: Housing, job data push S&P 500 to 5-yr high, Dow Jones up 0.56%, Intel down late
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 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 Harrisburg, 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
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