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The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index rose for a fourth day, poised for the longest rally in more than a month, after a better-than-estimated consumer confidence report.
Stocks rose as the Conference Board’s index increased more than forecast in February, to 70.8. Economists predicted the gauge would climb to 63. Earlier today, stocks fell as orders for U.S. durable goods fell in January by the most in three years. Separate data showed that home prices in 20 U.S. cities dropped more than forecast in December to the lowest level since the housing crisis began in mid-2006.
Dow 13,013.86 +32.35 +0.25%, Nasdaq 2,988.32 +22.16 +0.75%, S&P 500 1,372.52 +4.93 +0.36%
Priceline added 7.5 percent to $636.15. The company has weathered the European debt crisis better than rivals Expedia Inc. and Orbitz Worldwide Inc., and it’s expanding into emerging markets and new businesses such as car rentals. The number of countries Priceline serves has jumped more than 60 percent in the past year to over 160.
Office Depot increased 15 percent to $3.48. The second- largest U.S. office-supply chain posted earnings excluding some items of 3 cents a share in the fourth quarter. Analysts, on average, expected the company to break even, according to a Bloomberg survey.
Micron Technology Inc. added 5.3 percent to $9.01 after buying Intel Corp.’s stake in two wafer factories for about $600 million as the companies expand their venture for chips that provide the storage in mobile phones and tablets. Intel rallied 1.2 percent to $27.22.
Apollo Group sank 13 percent to $44.72. The for-profit educator cut its operating profit forecast for 2012 to no more than $725 million, below the previous estimate of as much as $750 million.
Southwestern Energy Co. fell 5.2 percent to $33.50. The natural gas producer cut its 2012 production estimate and reported fourth-quarter earnings of 45 cents a share, missing the average analyst estimate of 47 cents.
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