10:55 AM New York – U.S. new home sales increased to a six-year high annualized rate. Retailers were in focus after Target Corp reported better than expected earnings. TJX announced a $2 billion share buyback program. First Solar plunged on earnings decline. DreamWorks Animation sales plunged 23%.
Stocks on Wall Street advanced and the widely followed S&P 500 index edged to a new high after new home sales increased to a six-year high.
Home Sales Surge to 6-Year High in January
New home sales in January increased 9.6% to annual rate of 468,000, ahead of most economist’s expectations.
The data released by the Commerce Department showed today December rate was revised higher to 427,000 from the previous estimate of 414,000.
Sales in the Northeast soared 73.7% to a 7-month high and sales in South increased 10.4%. Sales in the West increased 11% and in the Midwest dropped 17.2%.
New home supply or unsold inventory of homes was unchanged in last month at 184,000 units.
European market indexes paused after a six-year high close at the end of session yesterday.
German consumer sentiment indicator for March increased to a six-year high, ahead of expectations of 8.2.
UK’s second estimated fourth quarter GDP rose 0.7% from third quarter and unrevised from first estimate.
Production output grew 0.5%, revised mining output fell 1.9% and revised manufacturing output increased 0.7% and revised construction output slid 0.2%.
In London trading, FTSE 100 index slid 0.4% or 30.22 to 6,801.24 and in Frankfurt the DAX index fell 0.5% or 48.63 to 9,650.72.
In Paris, CAC 40 index dropped 0.6% or 24.79 to 4,389.76.
U.S. Stocks in Review
Retailers were in focus and Target Corp
) increased 4% to $58.89 after the big box retailer fourth-quarter profit that was ahead of expectations.
) increased 4% to $7.22 after the company take steps to look for a buyer under pressure from activist investors.
Dollar Tree, Inc.
) jumped 4% or $2.11 to $54.79 after the discount retailer said net sales in the fourth-quarter ending on February 1 slid 0.9% to $2.23 billion. Comparable store sales in the quarter increased 1.2%.
Net income in the quarter dropped 7% to $213 million or $1.02 a diluted share compared to $228.6 million or $1.01.
The TJX Companies, Inc
) gained 1.2% or 71 cents to $61.70 after the off-price retailer reported net sales in the fourth-quarter ending on February 1 rose 1% to $7.8 billion. Comparable store sales in the quarter jumped 3%.
Net earnings in the quarter slipped 3.7% to $582.3 million or 81 cents a diluted share compared to $604.8 million or 82 cents.