Wall Street ended Friday on a positive note to close a week that otherwise saw the US stock market experiencing the biggest outflow of investor cash in about five years.
According to the Department of Housing, new home sales dropped a precipitous 13.4 percent on a month-to-month basis during July, far more than the modest 2 percent drop that had been expected by economists. June’s 8.3 percent rise in new home sales was also revised significantly downward to 3.6 percent.
The housing data was received favorably by investors, however, who have recently found comfort in any news that they believe could forestall the Fed’s inevitable reduction of fiscal stimulus spending, an event that the Central Bank has said is conditional upon the continuing improvement of the economy.
The Standard & Poor’s 500 closed the day 0.39 higher at 1,663.47 points, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average finished up 0.31 percent to 15,010.36, with the NASDAQ ending at 3,657.79 points, up 0.52 percent.
Microsoft (MSFT) was one of the day’s success stories, as the company announced the departure of CEO Steve Ballmer within the next 12 months. Ballmer has largely been credited for the company’s relative non-presence in an increasingly fluid tech economy that has shifted emphasis to mobile devices and cloud computing. Shares ticked up sharply on the news, with shares closing on an advance of 7.2 percent to end the day at $34.72.
On the S&P 500, Microsoft’s news was accompanied by heavy trading for tech shares that translated into gains for AT&T (T) , Hewlett-Packard (HPQ) , Intel (INTC) , and Yahoo! (YHOO) who advanced on news that it had surpassed rival Google (GOOG) in web traffic, while software company Autodesk (ADSK) rose 9 percent by the closing bell.
The NASDAQ saw Tesla Motors (TSLA) continue to its incredible year, ending the day up more than 2 percent, while online travel site Expedia (EXPE) and Facebook (FB) both ended the day around 5 percent higher. Green Mountain Coffee Roasters (GMCR) gained over 3 percent to close at $85.58 after its inclusion the previous day in the NASDAQ-100 list.