Housing Lifts Wall Street; Norfolk Southern, Adobe Fall
NEW YORK (Reuters) - U.S. stocks rose on Wednesday as investors dipped back into the market after the recent pullback from a rally that lifted the S&P 500 to just shy of five-year highs.
Housing stocks ranked among the day's leaders following stronger-than-expected data on home sales. The PHLX housing sector index <.hgx> jumped 2.2 percent, led by a 4.3 percent advance in PulteGroup
U.S. home resales jumped 7.8 percent in August, the fastest in more than two years. Housing starts also rose, a hopeful sign that a budding housing market recovery is gaining traction.
The reports came as investors looked for improving economic data to help bolster a rally of 5.9 percent in the S&P 500 since the start of August.
"The recent pullback in prices was all about healthy profit-taking after the big rally we had last week," said Neil Massa, senior U.S. trader at MFC Global Investment Management, in Boston. "Now people are buying."
The Dow Jones industrial average <.dji> rose 13.32 points, or 0.10 percent, to end at 13,577.96. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index <.spx> added 1.73 points, or 0.12 percent, to finish at 1,461.05. The Nasdaq Composite Index <.ixic> gained 4.82 points, or 0.15 percent, to close at 3,182.62.
After the bell, shares of railroad company Norfolk Southern Corp
Shares of Adobe Systems Inc
Shares of U.S. home goods retailer Bed Bath & Beyond Inc
Last week, the S&P 500 reached its highest closing levels since December 2007 following a decision by the U.S. Federal Reserve to launch a new round of economic stimulus. The market pulled back or ended flat for two days, causing some investors to get back into stocks that had lost ground.
Industrial conglomerate 3M Co
Both 3M and FedEx are viewed as economic bellwethers because they are involved with so many sectors of the economy. Their warnings come as S&P 500 companies are expected to post a 2 percent contraction in third-quarter earnings.
As of Friday, there were 88 major companies that have lowered their profit expectations, compared with 21 positive announcements. The ratio is the weakest showing since the third quarter of 2001, according to Thomson Reuters data.
Oil-related stocks fell as U.S. crude slid for the third straight day after Saudi Arabia said it would take action to keep prices in check. The PHLX oil service sector index <.osx> shed 1.07 percent.
General Mills Inc
Questcor Pharmaceuticals Inc
Volume was slightly lower than average, with roughly 6.12 billion shares traded on the New York Stock Exchange, the Nasdaq and the Amex, compared with the year-to-date average daily closing volume of 6.54 billion.
Advancers outnumbered decliners on the NYSE by about 17 to 13. On the Nasdaq, the opposite trend prevailed, with about 13 stocks falling for every 12 that rose.
(Reporting By Aleksandra Michalska; Editing by Kenneth Barry and Jan Paschal)
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