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U.S. stocks rose, sending the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index above its highest close since 2008, as better-than-estimated consumer sentiment and home sales reports bolstered confidence in the world’s largest economy.
Equities gained today as data showed that purchases of new homes in the U.S. exceeded forecasts in January after climbing a month earlier to a one-year high. The Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan final index of consumer sentiment for February rose to 75.3. Economists projected a reading of 73.
Dow 13,001.60 +16.91 +0.13%, Nasdaq 2,969.77 +12.79 +0.43%, S&P 500 1,368.22 +4.76 +0.35%
AIG gained 2 percent to $28.54. The insurer cited a return to “sustainable operating profit” as it booked a tax benefit that fueled record fourth-quarter earnings. AIG is projecting that it will generate enough profit to use tax assets, tied to prior losses, that can limit future payments to the government.
Salesforce.com added 8.9 percent, the most in the S&P 500, to $143.43. The amount Salesforce invoiced its customers grew 57 percent in the fourth quarter from a year earlier, topping the 31 percent predicted by Brent Thill, an analyst at UBS AG in San Francisco. Billings rose 29 percent in the third quarter.
Kroger gained 2 percent to $23.44. The company was raised to buy from neutral at Citigroup. The firm also added the shares to its “Top Picks Live” list.
Gap Inc. retreated 3.2 percent, the second-most in the S&P 500, to $22.78. The largest U.S. apparel chain forecast profit this year that was less than some analysts estimated as sales declined at its Old Navy stores.
Sprint Nextel Corp. dropped 3.2 percent to $2.44. Comcast Corp., the largest U.S. cable company, sued a unit of Sprint alleging infringement of four telecommunications patents.
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