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U.S. Stocks Gain On Upbeat Housing, Consumer Sentiment Data; Hot Stocks: (CRM, CLWR, S, DECK, GPS, KCP, CHTP)

 February 24, 2012 04:36 PM

U.S. stocks ended on a positive note following better-than-forecast data on home sales and consumer sentiment. 

S&P 500 Index added 0.17 percent to end at 1,365.74, the highest level since 2008. The Dow Jones Industrial Average held at 12,982.95. The Nasdaq Composite Index closed at 2,963.75, up 0.23 percent. All the three indexes recorded gains for the week.

On the economic front, sales of new homes edged down in the month of January, following four consecutive monthly gains. Yet the numbers came in above economists' expectations. New home sales dropped 0.9 percent at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 321,000 from upwardly revised level of 324,000 in December. Economists forecasted sales of 315,000 for November.

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Meanwhile, the consumer sentiment index advanced to 75.3 in February, according to the Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan consumer sentiment index reading, coming in better than the 73.0 expected by economists.

Hot Stocks Of The Day: (CRM, CLWR, S, DECK, GPS, KCP, CHTP)

Salesforce.com Inc. (NYSE:CRM) climbed 9 percent to $143.64 after the provider of enterprise cloud computing applications posted better-than-expected quarterly results and CRM raised its revenue forecast. Non-GAAP EPS was 43 cents on revenue of $632 million for Q4. Analysts' expected EPS of 40 cents on revenue of $624.03 million. For fiscal 2013, salesforce.com now sees revenue of $2.92 billion to $2.95 billion from prior view between $2.88 billion and $2.92 billion, while analysts expect $2.91 billion. It forecasts EPS of $1.58 to $1.62 for 2013, while analysts' expect $1.62.

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Clearwire Corp. (NASDAQ:CLWR) dropped 6.8 percent to $2.11 following reports that Google (NASDAQ: GOOG) is selling its entire stake in the wireless broadband services provider at a loss of around $453 million.

Sprint Nextel Corp. (NYSE: S) lost 1.9 percent to $2.47. Cable company Comcast (CMCSA) filed a suit against Sprint alleging infringement of four telecommunications patents. Sprint is a major investor in Clearwire.

Deckers Outdoor Corp. (NASDAQ:DECK) retreated 13.85 percent to $77.72 after the footqare designer issued a weak forecast. For the first quarter, DECK sees EPS to halve year-over-year to about $0.25, while analysts expect $0.63 per share.

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