[BRIEFING.COM] The S&P 500 is up 0.9% following a big batch of positive earnings reports and a solid increase in new home sales. Today's broad-based advance has the S&P 500 less than eight points from its all-time intraday high of 2940.91 and currently has the benchmark index above its record close of 2930.75.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average is up 0.6%, the Nasdaq Composite is up 1.2%, and the Russell 2000 is up 1.6%.
The stock market got off to a sluggish start despite the number of earnings beats from widely-held companies, which included Dow components United Technologies (UTX 139.81, +2.87, +2.1%), Coca-Cola (KO 48.23, +0.82, +1.7%), Verizon (VZ 57.21, -1.16, -2.0%), and Procter & Gamble (PG 102.88, -3.13, -3.0%).
Buying interest quickly picked up, though, and the release of the New Home Sales report for March at 10:00 a.m. ET accelerated the buying momentum. The report showed new homes sales increase 4.5% m/m to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 692,000 (Briefing.com consensus 646,000), aided by lower prices and lower mortgage rates.
U.S. Treasury yields remain lower today with the 2-yr yield down three basis points to 2.36% and the 10-yr yield down two basis points to 2.57%. The U.S. Dollar Index is up 0.4% to 97.64. Oil prices ($66.16/bbl, +0.60, +0.9%), meanwhile, continue to rise.
Assurance that the U.S. economy remains in good standing, coupled with low interest rates, has fostered a fear of missing out on further gains. A buy-the-dip trade in the S&P 500 health care sector (+1.7%) has been another measure of support for the broader market.
In other corporate news, Lockheed Martin (LMT 336.72, +21.46, +6.7%), Twitter (TWTR 39.88, +5.49, +15.9%), and Hasbro (HAS 101.91, +13.79, +15.7%) are some other big movers on better-than-expected earnings results. Walgreens Boots Alliance (WBA 53.71, -0.39, -0.7%), however, trades lower after announcing it will increase the minimum age to buy tobacco products to 21 starting Sept. 1, 2019.
Reviewing today's economic data, which included New Home Sales for March and the FHFA Housing Price Index for February:
- New home sales in March increased 4.5% m/m to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 692,000 (Briefing.com consensus 646,000), which was the strongest pace since November 2017. Sales were up 3.0% yr/yr.
- The key takeaway from the report is that the solid sales activity was helped by a 9.8% decline in the median sales price and lower mortgage rates, which goes to show the pent-up potential for sales activity if the combination of lower prices and lower mortgage rates persists.
- The FHFA Housing Price Index for February increased 0.3%, down from an unrevised January reading of 0.6%.