clear
Tuesday August 4th, 2015 4:03PM

Stocks surge on housing; Dow nears record

By The Associated Press
NEW YORK (AP) -- The Dow came within 100 points of its all-time high Wednesday after rising sharply for a second straight day.

The market surged following more evidence that the Fed will keep interest rates low, housing will keep recovering and shoppers aren't pulling back on spending, even with a payroll tax hike.

The gains were broad: Twenty-nine of 30 stocks in the Dow Jones industrial average rose. All 10 industries in the Standard and Poor's 500 index climbed.

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 175.24 points, or 1.2 percent, to 14,075.37. The index is now less than 100 points away from its record close of 14,164 reached in October 2007.

The Dow has surged 290 points in the past two days, erasing its drop of 216 points Monday when inconclusive results from an election in Italy renewed worries that Europe's fiscal crisis could flare up again.

"The market psychology has clearly shifted. It's no longer sell the rally, it's buy the dips," said Dan Veru, chief investment officer of Palisade Capital Management. "The economic data continues to be strong."

Stocks have surged since the start of the year. The Dow is up 7.4 percent.

Earnings for S&P 500 companies will climb 7.8 percent in the fourth quarter, the third straight quarter of growth, according to data from S&P Capital IQ.

The Standard and Poor's 500 index gained 19.05 points, or 1.3 percent, to 1,515.99. The Nasdaq composite rose 32.61 points, or 1.3 percent, to 3,162.26. The index is 6.5 percent higher for the year, and is about 3.1 percent short of its record close of 1,565.

Investors were also encouraged Wednesday that Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke stood behind the central bank's low-interest-rate policies as he faced lawmakers for a second day. His comments dissipated worries about the bank's resolve to keep up the program. Those worries sprung up last week when minutes from the bank's last policy meeting revealed disagreement among Fed officials.

Also, the number of Americans who signed contracts to buy homes rose in January from December to the highest level in almost three years. The report continued a string of positive housing news. Sales of new homes jumped 16 percent last month to the highest level since July 2008, the government reported Tuesday.

Home builder stocks rose for the second day in a row. PulteGroup climbed 25 cents, or 1.3 percent, to $19.30, after rising 5.7 percent the day before. The government reported Tuesday that sales of new homes jumped 16 percent last month.

"Some encouraging news for the bulls has been the housing data that has come out over the past couple of days," said Todd Salamone, director of research at Schaeffer's Investment Research.

The analyst said he remained "extremely bullish," on stocks in the medium and long-term, but cautioned that a pullback may lie ahead in coming days after the year's strong gains.

Discount retailers rose Wednesday. Dollar Tree jumped $4.31, or 11 percent, to $45.39 after reporting a 22 percent profit increase. Dollar General also rose $1.61, or 3.6 percent, to $46.56. Family Dollar Stores rose $1.39, or 2.5 percent, to $57.68.

The yield on the 10-year Treasury note rose two basis points to 1.90 percent.

Among other stocks making big moves;

- Priceline.com rose $17.42 to $695.91 after reporting that its net income jumped in the fourth quarter as bookings grew.

- First Solar plunged $4.32, or 13.8 percent, to $27.04 after the company posted disappointing sales for the fourth quarter and gave a weak early outlook for the year.

- Target fell 93 cents, or 1.5 percent, to $63.12 after the No. 2 discount chain's quarterly income fell 2 percent as it dealt with intense competition during the holiday shopping season.

- DreamWorks Animation fell 30 cents, or 1.8 percent, to $16.31 after posting a loss of $82.7 million. The company booked a write-off on its November release "Rise of the Guardians" and on an upcoming movie that needs to be reworked.
© Copyright 2015 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
S&P 500 index has its best year since 1997
The stock market closed out a record year with more all-time highs on Tuesday, giving U.S. indexes their biggest annual gains in almost two decades.
6:56PM ( 1 year ago )
Colorado readies for 'Green Wednesday' pot sales
Police were adding extra patrols around pot shops in eight Colorado towns that plan to allow recreational sales to anyone over 21 on Jan. 1.
1:52PM ( 1 year ago )
Kerry seeks framework for Mideast peace talks
A senior State Department official says Secretary of State John Kerry will try this week to get Israel and the Palestinians to agree on a framework for negotiating a final peace agreement, yet cautions against raising expectations for Kerry's latest round of shuttle diplomacy.
1:35PM ( 1 year ago )
U.S. News
Missing Ga. bank director arrested in Brunswick
A bank director accused of losing millions of investors' dollars before vanishing last year was arrested Tuesday during a traffic stop in a city in south Georgia.
7:00PM ( 1 year ago )
Amtrak to suspend some Crescent service in Jan., Feb.
Amtrak service will shut down in parts of the Southeast for several days in January and February for rail maintenance by Norfolk Southern Railway.
9:00AM ( 1 year ago )
Lung cancer scans urged for some smokers, not all
Certain current or former heavy smokers should start getting yearly scans for lung cancer to cut their risk of death from the nation's top cancer killer, government advisers said Monday - even as they stressed that the tests aren't for everyone.
7:26AM ( 1 year ago )
Business News
Sex offender held in Hall County for failing to register
A 47-year-old man was booked into the Hall County Jail Tuesday, being held without bond for allegedly failing to register as a sex offender, his second such arrest.
6:09PM ( 1 year ago )
Pharmacy robberies may involve same suspect
Oakwood Police Tuesday afternoon released details in a pharmacy robbery they're investigating, similar to one that happened in the Hall County Tuesday morning.
5:46PM ( 1 year ago )
Victim critical following apartment fire
A 41-year-old woman was in critical but stable condition Tuesday after being rescued from an apartment fire in Forsyth County late Monday afternoon.
3:16PM ( 1 year ago )
Local/State News
Alabama man dies following crash at Road Atlanta
Hall County authorities said an Alabama man died at an area hospital following a high-speed crash at the Road Atlanta race facility Saturday afternoon.
1:40PM ( 2 hours ago )
WalletHub: Ga students among worst for student loan debt
A new study puts Georgia college students among the worst in the country when it comes to the amount of student loan debt they've accrued.
By accessWDUN staff
1:06PM ( 2 hours ago )
Tenn. officials change policy on ropes courses following death of Cumming man
Following the death of a man from Forsyth County, Georgia, Tennessee officials say companies that design or build ropes courses will no longer be allowed to conduct inspections to verify their safety.
12:34PM ( 3 hours ago )
VIDEO: Man on the Street: What do falling gas prices mean for you?
For this week's Man on the Street feature, WDUN's Russell Brown asked North Georgia residents how declining gas prices impact their financial decisions.
12:33PM ( 3 hours ago )
Gainesville School Board begins work on SPLOST V wish list
Gainesville City School Board members started the discussion Monday night on which projects would be on their wish list for an upcoming education SPLOST referendum.
11:10AM ( 4 hours ago )