S&P/Case-Shiller got the momentum started with a report that housing prices rose a better-than-expected 10.9% in March, the best year-over-year gain in seven years. We also learned that the Consumer Confidence Index rose to a five-year high.
The net result was broad gains, with the Nasdaq leading the way by improving 0.86% to close at 3488.89. All but four of the Dow Jones Industrial Average components finished in the black, and the index gained 0.67% to close at a record 15409.39. Lastly, the S&P 500 ticked up 0.63% to 1660.06.
The Case-Shiller report broadly lifted some of the housing sector’s smaller stocks such as Comstock (CHCI, +3.4%), Beazer Homes (BZH, 2.1%), and Hovnanian (HOV, +1.8%), helping the SPDR S&P Homebuilders ETF (XHB) finish roughly 1% ahead.
Tesla Motors (TSLA) reignited an electric 2013 with a 13% gain after announcing that demand for its Model S is strong, expecting to sell more than 500 automobiles total in the coming hear. TSLA shares have more than tripled so far this year. Other American automakers sprung to life, with General Motors (GM) and Ford (F) both ending more than 3% in the black.
On the earnings front, luxury retailer Tiffany & Co. (TIF) gained about 4% after announcing better-than-expected earnings, though it warned of lower future revenues.
In merger news, Valeant Pharmaceuticals (VRX) shares improved 8% after the company announced it will buy privately held Bausch & Lomb from private equity firm Warburg Pincus.
And lastly, AstraZeneca (AZN) announced it will buy specialty pharmaceuticals maker Omthera Pharmaceuticals (OMTH) for $260 million, or $12.70 per share, to roughly double OMTH shareholders’ fortunes. AZN obtained the leading manufacturer of fish-oil based cardiovascular drugs — an area where ASZ is looking to grow beyond its Crestor brand — and also picked up a 2% improvement in its share price.
- Trina Solar (TSL): Up 10.1% (62 cents) to $6.79.
- Arena Pharmaceutical (ARNA): Up 7.7% (64 cents) to $8.94.
- Orbitz Worldwide (OWW): Up 6.5% (53 cents) to $8.71.
- Exelon (EXC): Down 7.5% ($2.61) to $32.04.
- Netflix (NFLX): Down 6.4% ($14.55) to $214.19.
- Alaska Air (ALK): Down 4.2% ($2.44) to $56.19.
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.