Stocks were on track for a third consecutive day of modest gains Friday afternoon as investors weighed reports on sales of new U.S. homes and corporate earnings ahead of the Memorial Day holiday. Hewlett-Packard, GameStop and TripAdvisor were among the stocks posting the biggest gains on the day.
KEEPING SCORE: The Standard & Poor’s 500 index gained six points, or 0.4 percent, to 1,899 as of 12:13 p.m. Eastern Time. The Dow Jones industrial average rose 53 points, or 0.3 percent, to 16,596. The Nasdaq composite added 19 points, or 0.4 percent, to 4,174. U.S. financial markets will be closed Monday for Memorial Day.
HOUSING: The Commerce Department reported that sales of U.S. new homes rose 6.4 percent in April after slumping in the previous two months. Traders were encouraged by the latest sign that the housing market may be recovering. D.R. Horton led the sector, rising 51 cents, or 2.3 percent, at $23.16.
UPWARD TREND: Major indexes rose Thursday and have finished higher in four of the last five trading days. The S&P 500 index, the most widely used benchmark for stock funds, has climbed 1.1 percent this week. The index moved early Friday ahead of its previous record closing high of 1,897 set early last week.
THE QUOTE: “The environment is very good for stocks,” said John Fox, director of research at Fenimore Asset Management. “The economy is moving ahead at a slow, but reasonable rate, and corporate earnings are fine. Valuations are fair, but they certainly are not overblown, and we have continued low interest rates.”
GROWING AND CUTTING: Hewlett-Packard reported late Thursday that its net income increased in the February-April quarter. The technology giant also announced plans to cut another 11,000 to 16,000 jobs by October as part of a multiyear restructuring plan. Shares rose $1.99, or 6.3 percent, to $33.77.
LEVEL UP: GameStop jumped $1.97, or 5.3 percent, to $38.85 after the video game seller reported earnings that were higher than analysts were expecting.