U.S. stocks ended sharply higher, with the S&P and the Dow Jones Industrial average closing near their record highs after solid pending home sales data and a recovery in commodities boosted stocks early in Monday's session.
Pre-bell, the Commerce Department reported that consumer spending rose 0.2% in March, above the 0.1% forecast by economists polled by MarketWatch. The increase in consumer spending is the smallest since December. The Commerce Department also reported that personal income rose 0.2% last month, below the 0.4% forecast by economists. Inflation as gauged by the core PCE price index was unchanged in March.
The rally in stocks accelerated after the 10:00 a.m. ET report by the National Association of Realtors (NAR) reported pending home sales rose 1.5% in March, vs. analyst expectations of a 1% increase, reaching its highest level in three years. The NAR also reported that the pending home sales index elevated to 105.7 in March, up from 104.1 in February, and a 7% increase from the comparable period last year from March 2012. On a less bullish note, U.S. pending home sales for February were revised to a decline of 1%, worse than anticipated, according to MarketWatch.
Overseas, European stocks finished higher on news that Italy formed a new government. Enrico Letta was sworn in as Italy's prime minister, putting an end to weeks of political uncertainty.
Commodities ended mostly higher. Oil added 1.61% to finish at $94.50 a barrel while gold futures added 0.95% to finish at $1,467.90 per ounce.
Here's Where The Markets Stood At Day's End
- Dow Jones Industrial Average up 106.20 (+0.72%) to 14,818.75
- S&P 500 up 11.37 (+0.72%) to 1,593.61
- Nasdaq Composite Index up 27.76 (+0.85%) to 3,307.02
- Nikkei 225 Index down 0.30%
- Hang Seng Index up 0.15%
- Shanghai China Composite Index down 0.97%
- FTSE 100 Index up 0.37%
- DAX up 0.73%
- CAC 40 up 1.55%
- (+) SINA, Reached an agreement on a strategic alliance between several entities affiliated with SINA, including PRC subsidiaries of Weibo Corporation, and several entities affiliated with Alibaba Group, including Taobao (China) Software Co., Ltd. and Zhejiang Tmall.com Technology Co., Ltd., to jointly explore social commerce and develop innovative marketing solutions to enable merchants on Alibaba e-commerce platforms to better connect and build relationships with Weibo users.
- (+) PPHM, Completes patient enrollment in the Phase I trial evaluating bavituximab in combination with the chemotherapeutic agent paclitaxel in patients with metastatic HER2-negative breast cancer.
- (+) MDSO, Touches a new 52-week high earlier of $62.95 after the company reported Q1 adjusted non-GAAP EPS of $0.35 versus consensus estimate of $0.23. Revenues were $63.3 million, better than consensus estimate of $61.3 million.
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- (-) FVE, Reported Q1 GAAP earnings of $0.04 per share, versus the Capital IQ GAAP consensus of $0.06. Revenues were $360.1 million, versus the analyst estimate of $357.29 million. In the same period last year, the company reported EPS of $0.01 on revenues of $327.2 million.
- (-) AUXL, Shares fall to new 52-week low of $13.90 after the company reported a Q1 loss of $0.05 per share, ex one-time items, versus estimates for a $0.02 gain. Revenues were $66.2 million, versus the analyst estimate of $82.14 million.
- (-) CHH, Reports Q1 revenues of $136.9 million, up from $129.2 million the year prior. It reported earnings of $0.26 per share. EPS was off a penny from analyst estimates of $0.27, but sales beat consensus of $135.1 million. The company's Q2 2013 diluted EPS is expected to be $0.45, which is below the $0.53 EPS the Street expects. The company expects full-year 2013 diluted EPS between $1.87 and $1.91, which is also below the $1.97 the Street expects.