Stocks edge higher ahead of Memorial Day holiday
Stocks inched higher early Friday in quiet trading ahead of the Memorial Day weekend. GameStop and Hewlett-Packard were among stocks posting gains after reporting earnings. Home builder stocks rose after the government reported an increase in sales of new homes last month.
KEEPING SCORE: The Standard & Poor's 500 index gained two points, or 0.2 percent, to 1,895 in the first 45 minutes of trading. The Dow Jones industrial average rose 34 points, or 0.2 percent, to 16,577. The Nasdaq composite added five points, or 0.1 percent, to 4,159. Stock and bond 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. KB Home rose 37 cents, or 2.3 percent, to $16.59 and Lennar rose 70 cents, or 1.8 percent, to $39.70.
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 percent this week.
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 $1.79, or 5.6 percent, to $33.55.
LEVEL UP: GameStop jumped $1.75, or 4.7 percent, to $38.56 after the video game seller reported earnings that were higher than analysts were expecting.
EUROPE: Most major European markets were little changed. In Germany, the DAX rose 0.2 percent, and in France, the CAC 40 edged up 0.03 percent. Britain's FTSE 100 was flat.
BONDS AND COMMODITIES: Bond prices rose. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell to 2.53 percent from 2.55 percent late Thursday. Crude oil rose 25 cents to $103.99 a barrel. Gold fell $2.30 to $1,292.60 an ounce.