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Overnight Markets: US stocks rise as small-caps rally

Overnight Markets: US stocks rise as small-caps rally

Wall Street closed higher on Thursday, sending the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index to near a record, led by small-cap stocks, as data showing strength in manufacturing boosted confidence in the global economy.

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 10 points or 0.06%, to end at 16,543. The S&P 500 gained four points or 0.24%, to 1,892. The Nasdaq Composite added 23 points or 0.55%, to close at 4,154.

The Markit Economics preliminary index of US manufacturing increased to 56.2 in May from 55.4 a month earlier as output accelerated, the London-based group said yesterday. A preliminary purchasing managers’ index in China increased to a five-month high.

Other data showed sales of previously owned US homes increased in April for the first time in four months as the weather warmed, price increases slowed and more properties were put on the market.

Housing stocks ranked among the market's biggest outperformers, with D.R. Horton Inc (DHI.N) up 2.4% and PulteGroup Inc (PHM.N) up 2.2%.

Among momentum names, noted for high growth and perceptions of excessive valuation, Vertex Pharmaceuticals (VRTX.O) shares shot up 6%, while Alexion Pharmaceuticals (ALXN.O) rose 2.5%. Shares of Salesforce.com (CRM.N), the world's biggest maker of online sales software, advanced 6.1%.

Hewlett-Packard Co (HPQ.N) posted a bigger-than-expected decline of 1% in quarterly revenue as it struggled to maintain its grip on a shrinking personal computer market while protecting profit margins. The stock reversed earlier gains to end down 2.3%.

Shares of JD.Com (JD.O) soared in their market debut on Thursday, jumping 10% to close at $20.90 after the Chinese e-commerce company raised $1.78 billion in an initial public offering.

Best Buy Co (BBY.N) rose 3.4% after the electronics retailer reported first-quarter earnings that topped expectations and domestic comparable-store sales that fell more than expected.

In Asia, shares gained on Friday in morning trade after data showed US manufacturing expanded and as the yen held yesterday’s losses.

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index added 0.5% to 141 as of 10:43 a.m. in Tokyo, heading for the highest close since 1 January. Japan’s Topix (TPX) index rose 1.1% as the yen was little changed at 101.78 per dollar after falling 0.4% yesterday.

South Korea’s Kospi index was little changed. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index and New Zealand’s NZX 50 Index both added 0.4%. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index and the Shanghai Composite Index were little changed. Taiwan’s Taiex index added 0.3%, while Singapore’s Straits Times Index gained 0.1%.

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