(By Balachander) U.S. stocks ended in green amid upbeat domestic economic readings on home sales and durable-goods orders, ahead of the two-day European Union summit that begins on Thursday.
S&P 500 Index gained 0.90 percent to finish at 1,331.85. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.74 percent to end at 12,627.08. The Nasdaq Composite Index gained 0.74 percent to close at 2,875.32.
On the US economic front, durable-goods orders for May rose 1.1 percent following declines for two consecutive months, coming in better than economists expectations of a 0.4 percent rise. New orders - excluding transportation - increased 0.4 percent, yet trailed expectations of a 0.7 percent rise.
Meanwhile, a data showed that pending home sales, or contracts signed but not closed, matched the highest level in the past two years. The National Association of Realtors said pending home sales index jumped 5.9 percent after a 5.5 percent drop in April, while economists expected an increase of 1.2 percent.
Hot Stocks Of The Day: ARNA, ORLY, AMRN, BBY, MON, GIS, LEN, LNN
In corporate news, Arena Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ:ARNA) surged 29.15 percent after the San Diego, California-based company's Belviq obesity drug received approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
O'Reilly Automotive Inc. (NASDAQ:ORLY) tumbled 14.34 percent after the Springfield, Missouri-based retailer of automotive aftermarket parts said it expects second-quarter earnings to be in the lower end of its prior guidance, citing lower-than-forecast comparable store sales in June.
Amarin Corp. Plc (NASDAQ:AMRN) jumped 8.59 percent amid speculation that the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office will approve the Irish late-stage biopharmaceutical company's three key patent applications pertaining to its fish-oil pill AMR101.
Best Buy Co. Inc. (NYSE:BBY) rose 2.22 percent amid media reports that that the consumer electronics retailer's founder, Richard Schulze, is exploring a potential private takeover of the company.
Monsanto Co. (NYSE:MON) gained 3.88 percent after the St. Louis, Missouri-based seed-and-traits company posted stronger-than-forecast third-quarter earnings on a 17 percent jump in net sales.
General Mills Inc. (NYSE:GIS) fell 1.57 percent after the Minneapolis, Minnesota-based maker of branded consumer foods guided fiscal 2013 below market expectations after reporting higher quarterly profit as double-digit growth in sales offset drop in gross margins.
Lennar Corp. (NYSE:LEN) gained 4.75 percent after the Miami, Florida-based homebuilder reported a jump in second quarter earnings that also topped Wall Street expectations.
Lindsay Corp. (NYSE:LNN) soared 9.99 percent after the Omaha, Nebraska-based maker of irrigation systems reported an increase in third quarter earnings helped by improvements in gross margins. Earnings and revenue came in ahead of Wall Street expectations.
European markets ended sharply higher ahead of the EU summit, with Germany's DAX up 1.50 percent to close at 6,228.99. France's CAC40 added 1.67 percent to finish at 3,063.12. U.K.'s FTSE 100 gained 1.41 percent to end at 5,523.92.
Among Asian markets, China's Shanghai Stock Exchange Composite Index dropped 0.24 percent to end at 2,216.82. Hong Kong's Hang Seng added 1.03 percent to close at 19,176.95. Japan's Nikkei 225 rose 0.77 percent to end at 8,730.49. India's BSE Sensex finished at 16,967.76, up 0.36 percent.
Commodity & Currency Scan:
Crude oil futures added 1.42 percent to $80.490 per barrel and natural gas futures inched up 0.25 percent to $2.774 per million metric British thermal units. Gold futures edged 0.07 percent higher to $1,572.20 per ounce while silver futures retreated 0.62 percent to $26.935 per ounce.
In the currency market, the euro fell 0.19 percent against the U.S. dollar to 1.2468. The British pound shed 0.49 percent against the greenback to 1.5566, while the dollar rose 0.25 percent against the Japanese yen to 79.7200.