Stock indexes retained gains after the National Association of Realtors reported pending sales of homes rose 0.3% in April.
“The housing market continues to squeak out gains from already very positive conditions,” said Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist.
Other reports Thursday had the U.S. economy growing less than expected last quarter and jobless claims rising more than estimated last week.
“Today’s report isn’t likely to move the needle, as it contained no real surprises,” Jim Baird, chief investment officer for Plante Moran Financial Advisors, noted in emailed commentary on the GDP number.
“It’s the most recent chapter in the story of an economy that has moved forward in fits and starts over the past several years,” Baird added.
Separately, the Labor Department reported its count of Americans who filed for first-time jobless benefits rose by 10,000 last week to 354,000.
A volatile Japanese market remained in the headlines. The Japanese yen (ICAP:USDJPY) fell against the U.S. dollar (NYE:DXY) and Japan equity index futures bounced higher after Reuters reported a proposed change in Japan’s public pension fund’s strategy would likely bolster equity markets while denting the nation’s currency. U.S. stock index futures also gained after that report.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI:DJIA) rose 62.90 points to 15,367.70, with 24 of its 30 components advancing.
Dow member Alcoa Inc. (NYSE:AA) fell 1.2% after Moody’s Investors Service reduced its rating on the aluminum manufacturer’s debt to one notch below investment grade.
Pending home sales tick up in April, with the index hitting a three-year high.
The S&P 500 index (SNC:SPX) added 8.12 points to 1,656.48, with utilities leading sector gains and energy the sole laggard among its 10 major industry groups.
The Nasdaq Composite (NASDAQ:COMP) climbed 19.43 points to 3,486.94.
Advancers outran decliners nearly 2-to-1 on the New York Stock Exchange, where 113 million shares traded as of 10:10 a.m. Eastern.