The National Association of Realtors reported that its pending home sales index rose 2% to 97 in January, a high not seen since April 2010, when it hit 111.3. Pending sales are considered an early (though not wholly accurate) indicator of home sales, and several homebuilding stocks rose as a result.
Home improvement company Lowe’s (NYSE:LOW) also recorded a modest gain after better-than-expected quarterly earnings. Fourth-quarter earnings per share of 29 cents topped Zacks estimates for 23 cents and were up almost 40% from the year-ago period. Sales of $11.6 billion were up a Street-beating 11%. Lowe’s, like Home Depot (NYSE:HD), credited a warm winter for the surge, and LOW shares popped on the news before dwindling down to a gain of less than 1%.
Energy stocks also were trending higher Monday. Driller Transocean (NYSE:RIG) was up more than 5%, thanks to positive developments in its lawsuit over the Macondo oil spill that helped the company overcome weak fourth-quarter earnings. BP (NYSE:BP) also gained 1% as it discussed settlements around the spill. Meanwhile, a host of other energy stocks were recording strong gains, including ATP Oil & Gas (NASDAQ:ATPG, +19%), Cheniere Energy (NYSE:LNG, +11.8%) and Kinder Morgan (NYSE:KMI, +4.6%).
- Cooper Tire & Rubber (NYSE:CTB), Up 13.8% ($2.16) to $17.82.
- Orexigen Therapeutics (NASDAQ:OREX): Up 10.6% (40 cents) to $4.16.
- Micron Technology (NASDAQ:MU): Up 7.7% (61 cents) to $8.56.
- Dendreon (NASDAQ:DNDN): Down 20.5% ($3.05) to $11.81.
- Smart Balance (NASDAQ:SMBL): Down 9.2% (62 cents) to $6.11.
- Novartis (NYSE:NVS): Down 4.3% ($2.46) to $55.05.