Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

September 19, 2012

Encouraging reports on housing market lift stocks


Associated Press

U.S. stocks rose Wednesday morning after a pair of encouraging reports about the housing market.

Home sales jumped to the highest level in more than two years in August, the National Association of Realtors reported. The trade group said sales rose 7.8 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.82 million, the most since May 2010.

Earlier, the government had reported that construction of new single-family homes in August also occurred at the fastest rate in more than two years. Construction of all new homes rose to a seasonally adjusted rate of 750,000.

Stocks of homebuilders rose sharply after news crossed at 10 a.m. about the big jump in home sales. They had already started higher following the government's report on new home construction. D.R. Horton rose 60 cents to $21.95, Beazer Homes USA rose 11 cents to $3.64, and KB Home rose 33 cents to $13.03.

World markets rose earlier after the Bank of Japan announced a massive asset purchasing plan similar to what the Federal Reserve approved last week. Japan's main index hit a four-month high.

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 42 points to 13,606 after a half-hour of trading. The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose three to 1,462. The Nasdaq composite index rose four to 3,181.

The yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell to 1.78 percent from 1.81 percent late Tuesday as demand for safe investments increased. A bond's yield falls as its price rises.

In corporate news, Cracker Barrel leapt $4.99, or 8 percent, to $68.61 after the purveyor of country cooking and homespun curios said it doubled its net income in the fiscal fourth quarter.

General Mills added 52 cents to $39.83 after saying its fiscal first-quarter net income increased 35 percent because of yogurt sales overseas.