Home Sales Give Stocks Boost

Stocks recovered from a midday slump to finish on the upside Monday as investors were buoyed by a surprisingly strong report on home sales.

The Dow Jones rose 44.6, or 0.5%, to 8849, while the Nasdaq climbed 13.2, or 0.9%, to 1482. The S&P gained 2.3 to 933.

It was a good start to a short week of trading, with the markets slated to close Thursday for the Thanksgiving holiday and open for an abbreviated session on Friday.
Stocks are riding seven consecutive weeks of gains into the holiday season, traditionally a period of optimism for investors, who this year are eagerly awaiting signs that the market and the economy finally are rebounding from a slump that began nearly three years ago.

One such sign may have come Monday, when the National Association of Realtors announced that sales of existing homes in the U.S. in October reached their highest levels since March.

Despite the good economic news, stocks began slipping in the late morning before being led back by tech shares.

Data storage vendor EMC gained 59 cents, or 9%, to close at 6.99 after being favorably mentioned in a Merrill Lynch report on storage networking firms.

Chipmaker Intel inched up 2.1%, or 43 cents, to finish at 20.48. The company announced Monday it would increase prices in January for flash memory chips by 20% to 40%.

Rival chip vendor Advanced Micro Devices soared 15.9%, or 1.09, to 7.95 after being upgraded by JMP Securities to “market outperform” from “market perform.”

Database maker Oracle gained 33 cents, or 2.9%, to 11.9, while online retailer Amazon.com rose 26 cents, or 1.1%, to $24.25.

Mainframe giant IBM advanced 1.77, or 2.1%, to 86.20 after unveiling a new version of its application server software for building Web services programs.

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