After Market: S&P Hits New High on Strong Housing Numbers

Records fell on Wall Street Friday as another solid report on housing lifted the market for the second day in a row. There's a three-day weekend coming up -- something that often prompts investor caution -- but the gains were broad-based even though volume was fairly light. The VIX, which measures volatility, fell to its lowest level this year.

The Dow Jones industrial average (^DJI) gained 63 points, the Nasdaq composite (^IXIC) rose 31, and the Standard & Poor's 500 index (^GPSC) added 8, topping the record high set last week.

The Dow Transportation average also raced to an all-time high, lifted by airline stocks. United (UAL) soared more than 4 percent; Delta (DAL) gained more than 1 percent and Southwest (LUV) gained 2 percent. Southwest is at an all-time high, up 79 percent from a year ago.

New home sales bounced back with a better than expected 6.4 percent increase last month. Lennar (LEN) and D.R. Horton (DHI) both rose 4 percent. Pulte (PHM), Beazer (BZH) and Hovnanian (HOV) also solid posted gains.

Earnings continue to drive retail stocks.

  • Gap (GPS) edged higher even though net fell.

  • Foot Locker (FL) gained 1½ percent after topping expectations.

  • GameStop (GME) rose 4 percent. Its net rose, helped by the rollout last year of new Xbox and PlayStation consoles.

  • Zumiez (ZUMZ) rose 5½ percent on an earnings beat.

  • But Aeropostale (ARO) tumbled 24 percent. Its loss widened and sales declined. The retailer continues to struggle with teen fashion trends.


Also on the earnings front, TiVo (TIVO) rose 2 percent as it swung to a profit from a year ago loss. It also reported an increase in the number of subscribers.

Hewlett-Packard (HPQ) rose 6 percent on news the company plans to eliminate up to 16,000 additional workers in an effort to cut costs.

And several stocks extended big moves from yesterday. Best Buy (BBY) rose more than 3 percent for the second straight day after earnings beat expectations. Isis Pharmaceuticals (ISIS) jumped another 11 percent. And RetailMeNot (SALE) dropped another 6 percent thanks to a report that its coupon site has lost about one-third of its traffic following changes to Google's search algorithms. But the company says the report grossly overstates the impact of the Google change.

Finally, PTC Therapeutics (PTCT) soared 32 percent after winning conditional EU approval for its treatment of Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy.

What to Watch Monday:

  • U.S. stock and bond markets are closed for Memorial Day.

What to Watch Tuesday:

  • The Commerce Department releases durable goods for April at 8:30 a.m. Eastern time.

  • Standard & Poor's releases the S&P/Case-Shiller index of home prices for March and the first quarter at 9 a.m.

  • The Conference Board releases the Consumer Confidence Index for May at 10 a.m.

  • Retailers AutoZone (AZO) and Wet Seal (WTSL) release quarterly financial statements.

-Produced by Drew Trachtenberg.

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