US stocks rise after home sales increase; Treasuries advance

April 26 (Bloomberg) -- U.S. stocks rose for a third day as pending home sales increased more than forecast and shares of technology companies rallied on better-than-estimated earnings. Metals led commodities higher, while 10-year Treasury yields approached a two-month low.

The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index added 0.2% to 1,393.22 at 1:07 p.m. in New York, poised for its biggest three- day rally in a month, and the Stoxx Europe 600 Index rose 0.1% after reversing a drop of 0.7 percent. Ten-year note yields slipped four basis points to 1.95% after retreating almost six points earlier. The dollar weakened against 11 of 16 major peers.

The S&P 500 reversed early losses as the National Association of Realtors reported that pending home purchases rose 4.1% to the highest level since April 2010, tempering concern about the economy after an earlier government report showed jobless claims topped estimates last week.

“We’re more confident,” Andrew Milligan, who helps oversee about $240.7 billion as the Edinburgh-based head of global strategy at Standard Life Investments Ltd., said in a telephone interview. “The market got into this earnings season a little too pessimistic. The economy has surprised a little more positively. The underlying concept of an economy moving forward is pretty much accepted by people.”

The S&P 500 started the session lower after Labor Department data showed 388,000 Americans filed jobless claims last week, 13,000 more than the median economist estimate. Earlier losses in stocks also came as euro-region economic confidence declined and Italy’s borrowing costs rose at a sale of six-month bills.

The S&P 500 is up almost 2% in three days after rallying 1.4% yesterday as Apple Inc.’s earnings almost doubled and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke said he’s prepared to do more to stimulate growth if needed. The index, which has climbed 11% so far in 2012, is about 1.8% below an almost four-year high reached on April 2 and poised to halt a streak of four straight monthly gains.

Earnings Season

Earnings have beaten analysts’ estimates at about 75% of the 239 companies in the S&P 500 that have released results since April 10, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Per-share profits have grown 8.1% for the group, led by a 22% increase in technology company earnings.

PulteGroup Inc. rallied 6.3% after the homebuilder’s loss narrowed as it reduced costs and sold houses at higher prices. Citrix Systems Inc. surged 11% and Xilinx Inc. jumped more than 7% to lead technology shares higher after reporting results. Exxon Mobil Corp. and United Parcel Service Inc. retreated at least 1.5% after earnings missed estimates.

Automobile and oil companies led European stocks higher, while banks tumbled as Deutsche Bank AG, Germany’s biggest lender, and Banco Santander SA, the largest in Spain, posted worse declines in profits than analysts estimated. AstraZeneca Plc dropped 6.1 percent, the most since 2010, after the U.K. drugmaker cut its earnings forecast.

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