Stocks ended the day higher on Wednesday following a flurry of quarterly reports and an upbeat reading on U.S. homebuilding activity that added to optimism about the country’s housing market.
The Dow Jones industrial average closed at 13,557, up 5.22 points or 0 per cent. The broader S&P 500 closed at 1460.91, up 5.99 points or 0.4 per cent. In Canada, the S&P/TSX composite index closed at 12,461.24, up 53.54 points or 0.4 per cent.
The moves follow a report on U.S. housing starts, which rose 15 per cent to an annualized pace of 872,000 in September, blowing past expectations among economists.
Homebuilding stocks surged on the news. PulteGroup Inc. rose 5.3 per cent and KB Home rose 8.7 per cent.
However, technology stocks struggled after a disappointing quarterly report from International Business Machines Corp. IBM, which has a big weighting in the 30-member Dow, fell 4.9 per cent after it reported revenues that missed expectations. In particular, hardware sales fell by double digits.
Intel Corp. fell 2.5 per cent after it reported its results on Tuesday after markets closed. While its earnings beat expectations, they fell 14 per cent over last year. Its revenues fell 5.5 per cent.
Bank of America Corp. fell 0.2 per cent after it reported earnings of $340-million (U.S.), down from $6.2-billion last year.
Canada’s Celtic Exploration Ltd. surged 46 per cent after Exxon Mobil Corp. struck a deal to buy the natural gas company for $2.6-billion or $24.50 (Canadian) a share. Exxon shares rose 1.1 per cent.
Potash Corp. of Saskatchewan Inc. rose ended the day up less than 0.1 per cent after recovering from an early selloff when the fertilizer producer warned that its quarterly earnings would be below the low-end of its previous forecast range.
Among commodities, gold rose to $1,753 an ounce, up $6.70. Crude oil rose to $92.12 a barrel, up 3 cents. Barrick Gold Corp. fell 0.2 per cent and Suncor Energy Inc. rose 1.3 per cent.
In the post market on Wednesday, EBay shares were down less than 1 per cent after the company reported earnings in line with expectations. And American Express shares were largely unchanged after it reported quarterly profit a penny better than expected, but its revenues missed expectations.