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S&P 500 closes above 1,900 for first time

The S&P 500 closed above 1,900 for the first time as a positive report on new-home sales helped to push US stocks broadly higher.

NEW YORK: The S&P 500 on Friday closed above 1,900 for the first time as a positive report on new-home sales helped to push US stocks broadly higher.

The S&P 500 advanced 8.04 points (0.42 per cent) to 1,900.53, besting by more than three points the index's record close earlier this month.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average advanced 63.19 (0.38 per cent) to 16,606.27, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index rose 31.47 (0.76 per cent) to 4,185.81.

The record close by the S&P 500-stock index followed a Commerce Department report that showed new single-family homes were sold at an annual rate of 433,000 units in April, well above analysts' forecast of a 415,000 pace.

"It shows there is momentum in the markets on the upside," said Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at Rockwell Global Capital. "It's safe to say this bull does have long legs."

Trading volumes have been low all week, a trend that continued on Friday as some on Wall Street left early for vacation ahead of Monday's Memorial Day holiday when markets are closed.

Michael James, managing director of equity trading at Wedbush Securities, said fewer investors are trying to bail out of technology equities and other momentum stocks compared with a few weeks ago.

"As there have been fewer sellers in a lot of stocks, it has been easier for them to move higher," James said.

Most leading tech names did well, including Apple (+1.1 per cent), Facebook (+1.4 per cent) and Google (+1.4 per cent). But in the losing column were Twitter (-3.2 per cent) and biotech company Gilead Sciences (-2.4 per cent).

Hewlett-Packard jumped 6.1 per cent after reporting fiscal second-quarter earnings that met expectations on sales that slightly underperformed. The computer company also announced it would cut an additional 11,000-16,000 jobs on top of 34,000 previously announced.

Athletic footwear retailer Foot Locker rose 1.6 per cent as earnings of $1.10 per share in the first quarter topped expectations by four cents. Comparable-store sales jumped 7.6 per cent from last year.

Cybersecurity company FireEye got a lift from an upgrade by Barclays, rising 3.4 per cent. Barclays said FireEye "continues to be one of the most disruptive technology companies with its differentiated, virtual-machine approach to security."

Bond prices rose. The yield on the 10-year US Treasury fell to 2.54 per cent from 2.56 per cent Thursday, while the 30-year dropped to 3.40 per cent from 3.43 per cent. Bond prices and yields move inversely.

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