Investing.com - U.S. stocks closed mostly higher on Friday, as upbeat new home sales data eased concerns about a slowdown in the housing market while a rebound in oil prices helped energy snap a four-day losing streak, lifting the broader market into positive territory.
On the New York Mercantile Exchange crude futures for August delivery rose 27 cents to settle at $43.01 a barrel but oil prices remained in bear market territory, down roughly 20% since the turn of the year.
New home sales, which make up about 10% of all U.S. home sales, increased 2.9% to a seasonally adjusted rate of 610,000 units last month, The Commerce Department said on Friday. April's sales pace was also revised sharply higher to 593,000 units from 569,000 units.
Analysts had forecast U.S. existing home sales rising 5.4% to a pace of 597,000 units last month.
Investors also kept a close eye on health care stocks, which closed about 3% higher for the week ahead of the Senate's vote on a healthcare bill next week, which aims to repeal and replace Obamacare.
A flurry of comments from Federal Reserve officials failed to draw significant moves in equity markets as St. Louis Fed President James Bullard was the only Fed official who commented on monetary policy.
Bullard said that the Fed can afford to stop raising short-term interest rates and wait and see how economy develops.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed at 21,394.76. The S&P 500 closed 0.13% higher while the Nasdaq Composite closed at 5,811, up 0.44%.
The 'Bulls and Bears' on Wall Street
The top Dow gainers for the session: EQT Corporation (NYSE:EQT) up 1.7%, Boeing Co (NYSE:BA) up 1.4%, while Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) rose 1.4%.
Home Depot Inc (NYSE:HD) down 0.9 %, Goldman Sachs Group Inc (NYSE:GS) down 1.2% and Wal-Mart Stores Inc (NYSE:WMT) down 0.9%, were among the worst Dow performers of the session.
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