by Marc Bastow | December 20, 2012 4:31 pm
Optimism once again crept into the conversation on Thursday as the markets saw some positive economic data and no further Fiscal Cliff damage.
The S&P 500 led the way with a 0.55% gain to finish at 1,443.69, while the Dow rose 0.45% to 13,311.72 and the Nasdaq trailed with a rise of 0.2% to 3,050.39.
Congress was expected to vote some time on Thursday evening on John Boehner’s Plan B, while the government released its final estimate of third-quarter GDP growth. It came it at a 3.1% annual rate — much better than the 1.3% rate in the second quarter.
Additionally, jobless claims rose by 17,000 to 361,000 in the latest week and new home sales rose 5.9% to the highest sales rate since November 2009.
In corporate news, shares of NYSE Euronext (NSYE:NYX) surged 34% after the operator of the New York Stock Exchange agreed to be bought by IntercontinentalExchange (NSYE:ICE) for $8.2 billion in cash and stock.
Used car retailer CarMax (NYSE:KMX) reported strong quarterly results, sending shares ahead nearly 9% on the day.
Office products and furniture manufacturer Steelcase (NYSE:SCS) rose over 12% on the day after posting revenues and earnings in line with company estimates and issuing guidance within Street estimates.
Bed Bath & Beyond (NASDAQ:BBBY) shares went the other way, dropping almost 7% after the retailer offered weak guidance after the bell on Wednesday.
Management and technology consulting firm Accenture (NYSE:ACN) also took a tumble on disappointing earnings, which represented the third straight quarterly decline. Shares dropped just under 2% for the day.
Marc Bastow is an Assistant Editor at InvestorPlace.com. As of this writing he did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities.
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