by Marc Bastow | August 29, 2012 4:59 pm
Markets managed to shrug off the lethargy of another pre-holiday trading session and focus in on decent economic news to move into positive territory after two days of losses.
Trading volume has been at it’s lowest level in years with only Ben Bernanke’s speech on Friday in Jackson Hole, Wyoming to keep investors guessing and hoping about future economic news.
On the day however, the Commerce Department released a revised GDP report that showed second-quarter GDP rose to 1.7% growth, compared with an original estimate of 1.5% due to higher consumer spending. At the same time, a report from the National Association of Realtors showed pending home sales at their highest level in two years.
So whether it was the lowered volume or the better news, markets gained. Nasdaq rose 0.13% to end at 3,081, while the S&P gained 0.08% to finish at 1,410 and the Dow eased ahead 0.03% at end at 13,107.
In non-earnings news Yelp (NASDAQ:YELP) saw its shares soar up over 20% after the company’s post IPO lock-up period expired, with the run-up either a testament to a well-run social stock or due to short covering. Rare earth oxide producer MolyCorp (NYSE:MCP) also saw a nice pop today, rising over 14% after Tuesday’s jump.
In earnings news, Real America Index component H.J. Heinz (NYSE:HNZ) reported earnings of 87 cents a share to beat analyst expectations, but overall sales came in below forecasts. Shares jumped early on the mixed news, but the company ended just over 2% in the red for the day.
Two stocks saw their fortunes and share prices rise after changes in the boardroom. Healthcare company Wellpoint (NYSE:WLP) gained nearly 8% after announcing CEO Angela Braley was out after a turbulent five-year tenor. Meanwhile, Sealed Air (NYSE:SEE) shares soared over 12% after revealing CEO William Hickey will retire in March 2013. The company elected Jerome A. Peribere President and Chief Operating Officer and Director of the Company effective Sept. 1, 2012.
In the non-earnings and no-news category, J.C. Penney (NYSE:JCP) rose nearly 4%, and Sears (NASDAQ:SHLD) rose over 4% on no particular announcements or events, continuing recent runs. JCP is up over 14% in the last 30 days, while Sears is up over 10% in the same period.
Thursday brings earnings news from Ciena (NASDAQ:CIEN) and SAIC (NYSE:SAI).
Marc Bastow is an Assistant Editor at InvestorPlace. As of this writing he did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities.
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