US open: S&P 500 again flirting with record highs

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LONDON (ShareCast) - - US new home sales race past expectations
- S&P 500 flirting with new record

Dow Jones Industrials: 0.37%
Nasdaq Composite: 0.64%
S&P 500: 0.37%

The main US stock market averages were moving higher following a surprise rise in new home sales.

Sales of new single-family homes in the US rose by 9.6% over the month to reach an annualised rate of 468,000 during the month of January, according to the US Department of Commerce.

The consensus estimate was for growth of 405,000.

"The January US new home sales report is consistent with the idea that foot traffic may have slowed somewhat [...] but underlying demand and buying intentions have remained healthy, and we expect any drop-off in housing to be a pause and not a retrenchment," Barclays Research wrote following the release of the above data.

It will otherwise be a quiet day of releases ahead of a busy end to the week.

Reports on US durable goods, initial jobless claims and continuing claims will be out Thursday while gross domestic product, University of Michigan's consumer confidence and pending home sales figures will be unveiled on Friday.

Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen will testify to Senate on monetary policy and the economy, which had been delayed due to bad weather.

Yellen has signalled that the Fed is likely to continue cutting back monthly asset purchases until ending the programme all together at the end of the year.

The move has prompted concerns that it might hurt growth in other countries, especially emerging markets.

Hong Kong's Financial Secretary, John Tsang, today warned that the global outlook remains uncertain, highlighting the potential impact of cuts of the US Federal Reserve's monetary stimulus.

"The US economy may see some improvement in 2014. Nevertheless, there is still uncertainty over the Federal Reserve Board's exit strategy and interest rate policy. Possible market fluctuations and the risk of reversal of capital flows will cast shadows over global economic growth this year," Tsang said during his budget speech.

Lowe's, Aeropostale (NYSE: ARO - news)

Lowe's rallied as the US home improvement chain reported a rise in fourth quarter profit that matched analysts' estimates.

Aeropostale Inc. jumped following reports the teen apparel retailer is working with Barclays (LSE: BARC.L - news) to explore options such as the sale of a convertible note or preferred stock to a private equity firm.

First Solar (Xetra: F3A.DE - news) declined as the US solar panel manufacturer posted a drop in fourth quarter revenue.

DreamWorks Animation slumped as the independent animation studio said fourth quarter revenue fell as home video sales of Turbo missed forecasts.

Front month West Texas crude futures are rising by 0.87% to the $102.75/barrel mark on the NYMEX.

10-year US Treasury yields are now down by one basis point to 2.69%.

AB

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