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U.S. stocks advanced, erasing an earlier decline for the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index, as Sears Holdings Corp. soared on plans to raise as much as $770 million while jobless claims and housing data beat estimates.
Stocks rose as applications for jobless benefits were unchanged in the week ended Feb. 18 at 351,000, the fewest since March 2008. A report from the Federal Housing Finance Agency showed that a gauge of home prices rose 0.7 percent in December, beating estimates.
Dow 12,972.73 +34.06 +0.26%, Nasdaq 2,948.58 +15.41 +0.53%, S&P 500 1,360.27 +2.61 +0.19%
Sears surged 20 percent to $62.27. The rights offering to separate the Hometown and Outlet shops and some hardware stores may raise $400 million to $500 million, Hoffman Estates, Illinois-based Sears said today in a statement. The 11 sites will be sold to General Growth Properties for about $270 million, the retailer said.
A gauge of homebuilders in S&P indexes rallied 2.2 percent. KB Home added 4.1 percent to $11.72. PulteGroup advanced 3.7 percent to $8.64.
Vivus surged 90 percent to $20.08. Qnexa is one of three medications vying for the first U.S. approval of a prescription weight-loss treatment since Swiss drugmaker Roche Holding AG (ROG)’s Xenical in 1999. The FDA plans to have advisers discuss in March the possibility of requiring heart-risk studies for all weight- loss drugs. Panel members discussed whether Vivus should conduct such a study before or after approval.
Hewlett-Packard slumped 4.2 percent to $27.73. Sales in the personal-computer group dropped 15 percent to $8.87 billion in the three months ended in January as consumers held off on buying new machines in the first full quarter under Chief Executive Officer Meg Whitman.
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