Stocks End Sharply Higher
2/19/2013 5:51:54 PM
Stocks rose sharply in trading today, with all three major indexes finishing near session highs, as strong German economic data and rising M&A activity lifted investors’ sentiment. The Dow Jones and the S&P 500 finished at five-year highs.
The Dow Jones ended the day 0.39% higher at 14,035.67, the S&P 500 ended the day 0.73% higher at 1,530.94, and the Nasdaq ended the day 0.68% higher at 3,213.59.
All sectors in the S&P 500 except Basic Materials ended the day in green. Conglomerates and Consumer Non-Cyclical sector led the gains in the S&P 500 today. Both sectors ended the day 1.20% higher. Energy sector ended the day 0.92% higher. Utilities rose 1% in trading today. Financials also rose sharply today, ending the day 0.83% higher. Healthcare sector ended the day 0.88% higher. Basic Materials sector ended the day 0.01% lower.
Shares of OfficeMax Incorporated (NYSE: OMX) and Office Depot Inc. (NYSE: ODP) rallied in trading today after the Wall Street Journal, citing people familiar with the matter, reported that the two companies are close to a merger. OMX shares rose 20.93% to finish the day at $13, while ODP shares rose 9.37% to finish the day at $5.02. Shares of rival Staples Inc. (NASDAQ: SPLS) also rallied today, ending the day 13.13% higher at $14.65.
Other major movers in trading today included Humana Inc. (NYSE: HUM), which ended the day 6.39% lower at $73.01, and SunPower Corp. (NASDAQ: SPWR), which ended the day 16.94% higher at $13.39.
On the economic front, a report released by the National Association of Homebuilders showed that confidence among homebuilders fell to 46 in February from 47 in January. The weaker than expected data pushed homebuilder stocks lower in trading today.
European markets ended mostly higher earlier today as robust German economic data lifted sentiments. Markets in Asia ended mostly lower overnight.