Closing Update: Stocks Gain on Housing Data, But Remain Cautious Before Ukraine Vote, Next Week's Data

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The S&P 500 came within a hair of a new record high Friday with bullish housing market data and upbeat earnings from retail stocks encouraging early strength in equities. But gains were tempered by risk-averse investors worrying over this weekend's Ukraine presidential vote -- an election that could trigger retaliatory action from Russia. Next week's heavy economic calendar, that includes GDP and two separate consumer confidence indices, also hangs over markets ahead of a three-day holiday weekend. The sectors were nearly evenly split between gainers and losers, although strength in the tech sector on names like Apple ( AAPL ) and Hewlett-Packard ( HPQ ) helped the Nasdaq outperform.

The sectors were nearly evenly split between gainers and losers, although strength in the tech sector on names like Apple ( AAPL ) and Hewlett Packard ( HPQ ) helped the Nasdaq outperform.

New home sales rose by a greater-than-expected 6.3% in April to a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of 433,000, partially reversing a double-digit decline in March. The strength in the data not only fueled today's gains, but helped offset worries surrounding the housing market after Fed Chair Janet Yellen told Congress two weeks ago that the lingering weakness in housing remains a risk to the economy.

In related markets, gold lost $2 in value, the 10-year yield dropped 2 basis points to below 2.55% and oil topped $104.00 per barrel to a one-month high.

Here's where the markets stand at the close:

US MARKETS

Dow Jones Industrial Index was up 63 points (+0.4%) at 16,606

S&P 500 was up 8 points (+0.4%) at 1,900

Nasdaq Composite Index was up 31 points (+0.7%) at 4,185

GLOBAL SENTIMENT

FTSE 100 was down 0.07%

Nikkei 225 was up 0.87%

Hang Seng Index was up 0.05%

Shanghai China Composite Index was up 0.66%

UPSIDE MOVERS

(+) PTCT EU drug agency adopts positive stance on Duchenne muscular dystrophy drug

(+) LIVE Stock Market Media Group says company has enough cash to expand through acquisitions

(+) ISIS Piper Jaffray considers Isis pipeline most attractive in biotech sector

(+) YOD Chinese billionaire makes 2.2 million share investment

DOWNSIDE MOVERS

(-) ARO Cautious guidance overshadowed better than expected earnings

(-) ARUN Reported in-line earnings on better than expected revenue

(-) COVS Disappointing Q4 earnings and a downgrade from Pacific Crest Securities to Sector Perform from Outperform.



The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of The NASDAQ OMX Group, Inc.

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This article appears in: Investing , Commodities

Referenced Stocks: AAPL , HPQ

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