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U.S. Stocks Rise Amid Home-Sales Data, Stimulus Optimism

*from www.bloomberg.com, April 29, 2013 (To view original article click here.)

Take Away #1: U.S. stocks rose, with the S&P 500 Index heading for its sixth straight month of gains, as pending sales of hoes climbed amid optimism central banks will maintain stimulus plans.

Key Facts and Figures:

  • The S&P 500 Index rose 0.7% to 1,593.19 at 12:12 p.m. in New York.
  • All 10 S&P 500 industry groups advanced as technology and commodity companies climbed the most, rising at least 0.8%.
  • The gauge has climbed 1.5% in April, extending its longest streak of monthly gains since September 2009.
  • The Dow Jones Industrial Average increased 84.94 points, or 0.6%, to 14,797.49 today.
  • Trading in S&P 500 stocks was 21% below the 30-day average during this time of day.
  • The index of pending home sales increased 1.5% after a revised 1% decline the prior month that was larger than initially reported.
  • Economists forecast a 1% increase, according to the median estimate in a Bloomberg survey.

Take Away #2: Separate data showed consumer spending rose more than projected in March.

Key Facts and Figures:

  • Household purchases, which account for about 70% of the economy, climbed 0.2% after a 0.7% gain the prior month.
  • The median estimate in a Bloomberg survey of 74 economists called for spending to be little changed.
  • Incomes increased less than forecast and inflation cooled to the lowest level in more than three years.

Take Away #3: The bull market in U.S. equities has entered its fifth year as the S&P 500 surged 135% from a 12-year low in 2009.

Key Facts and Figures:

  • The S&P 500 Index has surged, driven by better-than-estimated corporate earnings and three rounds of monetary stimulus from the Federal Reserve.
  • The S&P 500 earlier today briefly rose above its record closing high of 1,593.37 reached on April 11.
  • The European Central will cut its benchmark interest rate to a record low of 0.5% on May 2, according to the majority of economists in a Bloomberg survey.
  • The Fed may consider renewing its commitment to bond-buying at a two-day meeting starting tomorrow.

Take Away #4: Nine S&P 500 companies report earnings today, including Express Scripts holding Co. and Loews Corp.

Key Facts and Figures:

  • Of the 273 companies that have reported earnings so far this month, 74% exceeded analysts’ profit predictions, while 55% missed sales estimates.

Take Away #5: The Chicago Board options Exchange Volatility Index (VIX), or VIX, fell 1.5% to 13.40.

Key Facts and Figures:

  • The VIX, a gauge for options that are used to protect against losses in the S&P 500, reached a six-year low in March.
  • The VIX is down 26% this year.

Take Away #6: The U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services plans to raise payments 0.8% beginning Oct. 1 for services that elderly and disabled patients receive after being admitted to hospitals.

Key Facts and Figures:

  • Tenet, the third largest U.S. hospital company, jumped 7% to $44.04.
  • HCA Holdings Inc., the largest publically traded healthcare chain, climbed 5.5% to $40.34.

Take Away #7: Investors, led by Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank and King County, Washington, agreed to drop their claims against Moody’s and S&P in lawsuits involving two structured investment vehicles called Cheyne and Rhinebridge.

Key Facts and Figures:

  • Moody’s climbed 8.6% to $59.85, the highest in almost six years.
  • McGraw-Hill, owner of Standard & Poor’s, advanced 3% to $53.55.

Take Away #8: The generic-drug makers Actavis and Valeant had sought to announce a merger as soon as today before Actavis balked at the premium offered by Valeant.

Key Facts and Figures:

  • This according to a person familiar with the matter, who asked not to be identified because the discussions aren’t public.
  • The Financial Times reported April 27 that the talks had stalled.
  • Actavis (ACT) rose 4.4% to $105.34.
  • Valeant added 4.2% to $76.20.

Take Away #9: Biogen Idec Inc. (BIIB) climbed as the introduction of its multiple sclerosis pill Tecfidera, outstripped initial sales of competing drugs from Novartis AG and Sanofi.

Key Facts and Figures:

  • This suggests the treatment may beat estimates for the year.
  • Total prescriptions more than doubled during the week of the launch to 730 from 332 the previous week, according to a Wells Fargo & Co. report.

Take Away #10: Walt Disney Co., Conceptus Inc., rose, while Roper Industries Inc., Eastman Chemical Co. and Expedia Inc. declined.

Key Facts and Figures:

  • Walt Disney Co. climbed 1.6% to $62.86, headed for a record close.
  • The world’s largest entertainment company was boosted to buy from neutral by UBS AG.
  • Conceptus Inc. (CPTS) surged 19% to a record $30.91.
  • The maker of a permanent contraception device agreed to be bought by Bayer AG for about $1.1 billion in cash, or $31 a share.
  • Roper Industries Inc. (ROP) fell 3.5% to $118.97.
  • The maker of products from medical imaging to refrigeration valves forecast second-quarter earnings of no more than $1.30 a share.
  • That trailed the average analyst estimate of $1.38 in a Bloomberg survey.
  • Eastman Chemical Co. (EMN) slipped 2.9% to $66.97 after JPMorgan Chase & Co. cut the stock’s rating to neutral from overweight.
  • Expedia Inc. declined 4.2%, the most in the S&P 500, to $56.11.
  • The stock has slumped 14% since lowering its 2013 earnings forecast on April 25, leaving it poised for the biggest two-day drop since 2011.

*To view original article from www.bloomberg.com click here.

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