The S&P 500 closed at a record on Thursday and ended in positive territory for the year after Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen said harsh weather seems to be to behind recent U.S. economic softness.
That gave some relief to investors who supported the view that heavy snowstorms and unusually cold weather - and not worsening fundamentals - were to blame for weak U.S. employment, retail sales and other data.
The advance lifted the S&P 500 above its 2013 year-end closing level of 1,848.36, which has served as resistance in recent sessions.
"The market was worried. She could have excluded weather and perhaps talked more about the soft patch," said Quincy Krosby, market strategist at Prudential Financial, which is based in Newark, New Jersey.
"I think she gave the market some comfort that she thought it was probably mostly due to weather-related issues."
Testifying before the Senate Banking Committee, Yellen also said the Fed would watch carefully to make sure weather was indeed behind the recent weakness. But she said it would take a "significant change" to the economy's prospects for the central bank to put plans to reduce its bond-buying program on hold.
Some retailers scored sharp gains for a third session, with the shares of J.C. Penney Co Inc (JCP.N) and others jumping after the companies posted strong results.
Mylan Inc (MYL.O) gave one of the biggest boosts to both the S&P 500 and Nasdaq. Mylan's shares shot up 9.4 percent to end at $56.27 after the U.S. generic drugmaker gave a 2014 forecast above Wall Street's estimates. Mylan also said it plans to make a "substantial" transaction this year that would add to future earnings.
The Dow Jones industrial average .DJI rose 74.24 points or 0.46 percent, to end at 16,272.65. The S&P 500 .SPX gained 9.13 points or 0.49 percent, to finish at 1,854.29, surpassing its previous record closing high set on January 15.
The Nasdaq Composite .IXIC added 26.869 points or 0.63 percent, to close at 4,318.933.
For the year, the S&P 500 index is now up 0.3 percent.
After the bell, Gap Inc GSP.N shares slid 1 percent to $43. http://tinyurl.com/pch83be 24 after the clothing retailer reported results. Shares of Deckers Outdoor Corp (DECK.O) tumbled 12.5 percent to $74.05 after the company, whose brands include ugg boots sale cheap ugg boots and Teva sandals, posted earnings.
During the regular session, J.C. Penney shares surged 25.3 percent to $7.47, a day after the U.S. department store chain forecast more improvement in its comparable sales and gross profit margin this fiscal year.
The S&P retail index .SPXRT has climbed 4.2 percent for the week so far, including its slim gain of 0.1 percent on Thursday.
Among other retailers, Best Buy Co Inc (BBY.N) reported a better-than-expected profit uggs on sale Thursday. The stock rose as high as $28.19 before ending at $25.57, down 1 percent.
Sears Holding Corp (SHLD.O) reported a quarterly loss that narrowed from the year-ago period, sending its stock up 6.5 percent to $43.01. Kohl's Corp (KSS.N) said it expected modest sales gains in its new fiscal year and reported a lower fourth-quarter profit. Shares of Kohl's rose 2.4 percent to $55.74.
The day's economic data added to the positive tone, with orders for long-lasting U.S. manufactured goods excluding transportation, or durable goods excluding transportation, and a gauge of business spending unexpectedly rising in January.
About 6.5 billion shares changed hands on U.S. exchanges, below the 7 billion average so far this month, according to data from BATS Global Markets.
Advancers beat decliners on the New York Stock Exchange by a ratio of 2 to 1. On the Nasdaq, 17 stocks rose for every nine that fell.
(Editing by Jan Paschal)
We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see website Comments (3) Simplerman wrote: It�s clear the US has recently entered yet another recession evidenced by existing home sales and the Christmas (sorry - Holiday) season retail bust. Prepare accordingly.
Feb 27, 2014 10:51am EST -- Report as abuse Simplerman wrote: JC Penny will now accept EBT?? What did I miss?
Feb 27, 2014 11:35am EST -- Report as abuse TRADEEDGE wrote: Nice so now they will sleep over this again in the name of continuous monitoring till the its too late.
Feb 27, 2014 8:34pm EST -- Report as abuse This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication. See All Comments �
Obama makes rare campaign trail appearance, people leave early 19 Oct 2014
Turkey to let Iraqi Kurds reinforce Kobani as U.S. drops arms to defenders | 6:58pm ED
Obama makes rare campaign trail appearance, some leave early 5:13am ED
Nigeria declared Ebola-free, holds lessons for others | 3:59pm ED
U.S. stocks end higher despite drag from IBM 5:08pm ED
Follow Reuters Faceboo
Back to to
More cheap ugg boots from Reuters Reuters News Agenc
Brand Attribution Guideline
Support & Contact Suppor
Connect with Reuters Twitter
About Privacy Polic
Terms of Us
Advertise With U
Our Flagship financial information platform incorporating Reuters Insider An ultra-low latency infrastructure for electronic trading and data distribution A connected approach to governance, risk and compliance Our next generation legal research platform Our global tax workstation Thomsonreuters.co
About Thomson Reuter
Thomson Reuters is the world's largest international multimedia news agency, providing investing news, world news, business news, technology news, headline news, small business news, news alerts, personal finance, stock market, and mutual funds information available on Reuters.com, video, mobile, and interactive television platforms. Thomson Reuters journalists are subject to an Editorial Handbook which requires fair presentation and disclosure of relevant interests
NYSE and AMEX quotes delayed by at least 20 minutes. Nasdaq delayed by at least 15 minutes. For a complete list of exchanges and delays, please click here.