S&P 500 Index inches up to a record, as stocks rise for fifth time in six days - The Buffalo News
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S&P 500 Index inches up to a record, as stocks rise for fifth time in six days

U.S. stocks rose for the fifth time in six days, driving the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index to a record, after Tyson Foods Inc. offered to buy Hillshire Brands Co., and investors speculated the economy is improving following a contraction in the first quarter.

Hillshire Brands jumped 18 percent after Tyson made a $6.8 billion offer to buy the company, trumping a competing bid from Pilgrim’s Pride Corp. Tyson added 6.1 percent for the biggest gain in the S&P 500. Biogen Idec Inc. climbed 3.6 percent after JPMorgan Chase & Co. raised its recommendation on the biotechnology company. Abercrombie & Fitch Co. jumped 5.8 percent as the clothing retailer posted a smaller-than-estimated quarterly loss.

The S&P 500 added 0.5 percent to 1,920.03. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 65.56 points, or 0.4 percent, to 16,698.74. The Nasdaq 100 Index increased 0.6 percent to the highest level since September 2000.

“No matter what that GDP number was, the underlying backdrop is that the data is improving,” said Sam Turner, a fund manager with Richmond, Va.-based Riverfront Investment Group. His firm oversees $4.6 billion. “We had two months there where small caps, higher momentum names really took it on the chin. Now they’re oversold and start to see some recovery.”

The Russell 2000 Index of small companies added 0.3 percent, extending its rebound from a low on May 15 to 4 percent.

The S&P 500 has rallied 5.8 percent since a selloff in small-cap and Internet shares spread to the broader market and dragged the benchmark index to a two-month low in April. The gauge has advanced 184 percent from its bear-market low in March 2009.

About 5.1 billion shares changed hands on U.S. exchanges Thursday, 19 percent below the three-month average.

Biogen Idec climbed 3.6 percent to $319.85. The biotechnology company was raised to overweight from neutral by JPMorgan analysts. Biogen has an “impressive” number of drugs in later stages of development, and JPMorgan’s survey of doctors suggested the potential of increased use of the multiple sclerosis drug Tecfidera, analyst Geoff Meacham wrote in a note.

Abercrombie & Fitch jumped 5.8 percent to $37.14. New styles of shorts and crop tops slowed its sales decline. Chief Executive Officer Mike Jeffries has been working to revive Abercrombie’s appeal among teenage shoppers who’ve strayed from the chain in favor of fast-fashion purveyors such as Forever 21 and Hennes & Mauritz AB.

Palo Alto Networks Inc. climbed 5.3 percent to $73.17. The company posted third-quarter adjusted earnings per share of 11 cents, compared with the 10 cents analysts had estimated. It reported revenue of $150.7 million, topping the $146.2-million analyst forecast.

Twitter Inc. gained 0.7 percent to $34 as Cantor Fitzgerald LP raised the stock to a buy from hold. The operator of the social-networking site surged 11 percent yesterday, reversing a two-week slide amid a rout in technology stocks.

Tilly’s Inc. slumped 17 percent to $8.77 after giving a profit projection that missed estimates.

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