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The Markets Now: Stocks Climb Higher After Strong Earnings

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Plus, DuPont reports strong quarterly numbers.

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Stocks pushed higher after the release of strong earnings reports and house sales data, and despite a weaker report from the Richmond Fed and a weaker PMI flash report. The Dow (INDEXDJX:.DJI) increased 0.83% to 14,687.79. The S&P 500 (INDEXSP:.INX) climbed 0.87% to 1,576.12, and the Nasdaq (INDEXNASDAQ:.IXIC) rose 1.02% to 3,266.38.

Markit reported today that its US Manufacturing Flash Purchasing Managers' Index, or PMI, fell to 52.0 in April from 54.6 in March, it's lowest reading in six months. (A reading over 50 indicates an increase from the prior month.) Of its components, output had the highest reading of 53.6, and backlogs of work had the lowest reading of 48.8. Read the full report here.

The Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond reported today in its Regional Surveys of Business Activity that its Manufacturing Index for the central Atlantic region decreased from 3 in March to -6 in April. The shipments component of the index decreased the most from 8 in March to -9 in April. Read the full report here.

The US Census Bureau and the US Department of Housing and Urban Development reported today that new home sales increased 1.5% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 417,000 in March. Year-over-year, new home sales increased 18.5% above the March 2012 estimate of 352,000. Read the full report here.

The Federal Housing Finance Agency reported today that its House Price Index increased a seasonally adjusted 0.7% from January to February. Year-over-year, the index increased 7.1%. The index uses the purchase prices of houses and mortgages owned or guaranteed by Fannie Mae (OTC:FNMA) and Freddie Mac (OTC:FMCC). Read the press release here.

The International Council of Shopping Centers, or ICSC, reported today that its ICSC-Goldman Store Sales Index, which measures comparable store sales at major retail chains, increased 0.8% for the week ending April 20. The report cited the rainy weather as a cause for holding down sales at specialty retailers. Grocery and discount stores saw stronger sales. Year-over-year the index climbed 1.9%.

Redbook Research reported today that its Johnson Redbook Index, which measures sales at chain stores, discounters, and department stores, increased 1.8% year-over-year for the week ending April 20. This reading neared a recovery low, and the report cited the Boston Marathon bombings as one reason for less shopping as people followed the story.

DuPont (NYSE:DD) jumped 3.53% to $52.19. The largest US chemical company by market value reported a first-quarter net income of $3.35 billion, or $3.58, compared to $1.49 billion, or $1.58, in the prior-year quarter. Sales rose to $10.4 billion from $10.2 billion.

Bank of America (NYSE:BAC) increased 3.24% to $12.10. Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS) analysts upgraded Bank of America from "Equal Weight" to "Overweight," citing that accelerating expense cuts will offset litigation risks. Morgan Stanley lifted its price target from $13 to $16.

Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) rose 1.64% to $405.19. Apple will release the results of its 2013 fiscal second quarter later.

MetLife (NYSE:MET) spiked 6.19% to $38.01. The largest US life insurer raised its dividend 49%; shareholders of record as of May will received a quarterly dividend $0.275. This is its first dividend increase since 2007.

Citigroup (NYSE:C) climbed 2.70% to $46.37.
Twitter: @ChrisWitrak
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