(By Balachander) U.S. stocks closed on a higher note as an encouraging domestic data on home prices offset concerns over debt crisis in Europe.
S&P 500 Index added 0.48 percent to finish at 1,319.99. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.26 percent to end at 12,535.20. The Nasdaq Composite Index gained 0.63 percent to close at 2,854.06.
On the US economic front, the S&P/Case Shiller Home Price Index of property values in 20 metropolitan areas for April rose 0.7 percent, coming in better than economists' expectations of 0.4 percent. A data showed that confidence among U.S. consumers fell for a fourth straight month to 62.0 in June from a revised 64.4 in May.
In other news, Europe's leaders are due to meet later this week to address the region's debt woes. Moody's Investors Service downgraded 28 Spanish banks citing exposure to the struggling real estate market. Meanwhile, Cyprus followed Greece, Ireland, Portugal and Spain to seek a bailout. In Germany, a report showed a surprise improvement in consumer confidence in the Europe's largest economy. Spain's borrowing costs rose sharply in an auction of 3-and 6-month bills.
Hot Stocks Of The Day: NWSA, FB, DAL, APOL, STX, FUL, LDK, RBN, SUPN
In corporate news, News Corp. (NASDAQ:NWSA) jumped 8.46 percent after the New York-based media company confirmed that it is considering a restructuring to split its business into two publicly traded companies.
Facebook Inc. (NASDAQ:FB) rose 3.24 percent. The social networking site named Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg to its board, making her the first female board member.
Delta Air Lines Inc. (NYSE:DAL) jumped 5.89 percent after the Atlanta, Georgia-based company forecast unit revenue for the second quarter to increase by 8 percent, helped by strong performance in New York from Delta's expansion at LaGuardia.
Apollo Group Inc. (NASDAQ:APOL) rallied 10.29 percent after the Phoenix, Arizona-based private education provider posted third-quarter earnings and revenue that topped Wall Street projections.
Seagate Technology Plc (NASDAQ:STX) advanced 3.65 percent. The Dublin, Ireland-based maker of data storage drives will replace Progress Energy Inc. (NYSE: PGN) in the S&P 500 index after the close of trading on Friday.
HB Fuller Co. (NYSE:FUL) gained 8.08 percent after the adhesive maker raised its earnings guidance for the full year.
LDK Solar Co. Ltd. (NYSE:LDK) tumbled 5.94 percent after the Chinese maker of photovoltaic (PV) products posted a wider-than-expected loss for the first quarter amid a drop in selling prices.
Robbins & Myers Inc. (NYSE:RBN) dropped 4.70 percent after the Dayton, Ohio-based maker of engineered equipments guided fourth-quarter earnings below Wall Street projections.
Supernus Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ:SUPN) more than doubled its value after the Rockville, Maryland-based company received a tentative approval letter from the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) for Trokendi XR to treat epilepsy.
European markets ended mixed, with Germany's DAX up 0.07 percent to close at 6,136.69. France's CAC40 fell 0.30 percent to finish at 3,012.71. U.K.'s FTSE 100 lost 0.07 percent to end at 5,446.96.
Among Asian markets, China's Shanghai Stock Exchange Composite Index dipped 0.10 percent to end at 2,221.88. Hong Kong's Hang Seng added 0.45 percent to close at 18,981.84. Japan's Nikkei 225 shed 0.81 percent to end at 8,663.99. India's BSE Sensex finished at 16,906.58, up 0.14 percent.
Commodity & Currency Scan:
Crude oil futures inched up 0.23 percent to $79.390 per barrel and natural gas futures added 2.86 percent to $2.771 per million metric British thermal units. Gold futures lost 0.99 percent to $1,572.60 per ounce and silver futures retreated 1.77 percent to $27.100 per ounce.
In the currency market, the euro fell 0.06 percent against the U.S. dollar to 1.2497. The British pound gained 0.46 percent against the greenback to 1.5645, while the dollar lost 0.26 percent against the Japanese yen to 79.4600.