Investing.com - U.S. stocks finished Friday's session in positive territory buoyed by upbeat housing data and demand for tech shares among bottom fishers.
At the close of U.S. trading, the Dow 30 rose 0.27%, the S&P 500 index rose 0.37%, while the NASDAQ Composite index rose 0.52%.
The Census Bureau reported earlier that U.S. building permits rose 8% to 1.080 million units last month, up from an upwardly revised 1.000 million in March. Analysts were expecting building permits to rise to 1.010 million units in April, and the better-than-expected figure gave the greenback support.
The report also showed that housing starts rose to 1.072 million units in April, from 947,000 in March, whose figure was revised up from a previously estimated 946,000. Analysts had expected building starts to rise to 980,000 units last month.
Soft consumer sentiment data watered down gains earlier, though late-session buying brought all major indices into positive territory at the closing bell.
The preliminary Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan consumer sentiment index fell to 81.8 in May from 84.1 in April, confounding market expectations for a 84.5 reading.
Elsewhere, bargain hunters snapped up technology and small-cap equities, the beneficiaries of exceptionally loose monetary policies since the 2008 downtown.
The Federal Reserve is expected to wind up its monthly bond-buying program later this year.
Fed asset purchases boost stock prices by suppressing long-term interest rates, and expectations for the Fed to wind down the program this year have bruised tech, biotech and small-cap stocks in recent sessions.
Leading Dow Jones Industrial Average performers included Verizon Communications Inc (NYSE:VZ), up 2.32%, Home Depot Inc (NYSE:HD), up 1.48%, and Nike Inc (NYSE:NKE), which was down 1.38%.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average's worst performers included United Technologies Corporation (NYSE:UTX), down 0.96%, Intel Corporation (NASDAQ:INTC), down 0.71%, and Chevron Corporation (NYSE:CVX), down 0.49%.
European indices, meanwhile, largely higher.
After the close of European trade, the DJ Euro Stoxx 50 rose 0.18%, France's CAC 40 rose 0.26%, while Germany's DAX fell 0.28%. Meanwhile, in the U.K. the FTSE 100 rose 0.22%.
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