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Traders work at the Knight Capital kiosk on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. The market maker said a technology issue had affected the routing of shares of around 150 stocks to the New York Stock Exchange Wednesday, where abnormal volatility roiled the markets in early trading. (BRENDAN MCDERMID/REUTERS)
Traders work at the Knight Capital kiosk on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. The market maker said a technology issue had affected the routing of shares of around 150 stocks to the New York Stock Exchange Wednesday, where abnormal volatility roiled the markets in early trading. (BRENDAN MCDERMID/REUTERS)

The close: S&P 500 at new high; Apple sinks, Netflix surges after hours Add to ...

Major U.S. indexes touched fresh multi-year highs on Wednesday, driven by technology stocks following upbeat quarterly results from key companies. Apple Inc. shares were down more than 8 per cent in after-hours trade after its latest quarterly revenues were a little light of analyst forecasts - and its sales guidance was an even bigger disappointment. Netflix Inc. shares surged by more than 30 per cent in the post market after blowing past expectations with its earnings.

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The S&P 500 closed at 1494.78, up 2.22 points or 0.2 per cent – a new high since 2007. The blue-chip Dow Jones industrial average closed at 13,779.17. In Canada, the S&P/TSX composite index closed at 12,794.05, down 30.58 points or 0.2 per cent.

The Federal Housing Finance Agency reported that U.S. home prices rose 5.6 per cent in November, year-over-year, providing additional evidence that the country’s housing market continues to recover from a deeply depressed state.

Homebuilding stocks rose on the report: PulteGroup Inc. rose 1.4 per cent and Toll Brothers rose 2.1 per cent.

However, technology stocks dominated most of the attention. International Business Machines Corp. rose 4.4 per cent after it provided a better-than-expected forecast on Tuesday evening, when it also released upbeat earnings.

Google Inc. rose 5.5 per cent after the technology and search engine company reported its quarterly results on Tuesday evening. It reported earnings of $10.65 (U.S.) a share, after excluding some one-time items, which topped expectations.

In Canada, Research In Motion Ltd. fell 2.5 per cent following a flurry of opinions from analysts. Royal Bank of Canada raised its price target on the stock to $19 from $11. However, Bank of Montreal reiterated an “underperform” recommendation and a $9 target. And Citigroup said it isn’t buying “the hype” on the stock, reiterating a $6 target.

Elsewhere, Coach Inc. fell 16.47 per cent after the handbag retailer reported quarterly earnings and sales that missed expectations, placing most of the blame on slow growth in the U.S. market.

Key commodities retreated, which weighed on Canada’s commodity-sensitive index. Crude oil fell to $95.23 a barrel, down $1.45. Gold fell to $1,686.70 an ounce, down $6.50. Suncor Energy Inc. fell 0.5 per cent and Barrick Gold Corp. fell 1.3 per cent.

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