U.S. stocks advance on earnings as oil reaches four-month high

Housing Data

D.R. Horton Inc. jumped 12 percent to lead a rally in homebuilders after earnings more than doubled in its fiscal first quarter amid low mortgage rates and a shrinking inventory of existing residences.

The S&P/Case-Shiller index of property values increased 5.5 percent from November 2011, the biggest year-over-year gain since August 2006. The median projection of 30 economists surveyed by Bloomberg called for a 5.6 percent advance. The Conference Board’s index of consumer confidence decreased to 58.6, the weakest since November 2011, from a revised 66.7 in December, figures from the research group showed today, as higher payroll taxes took a bigger bite out of Americans’ paychecks.

Asset Purchases

Oil touched $97.82 a barrel, the highest intraday price since September. Silver, lead, cocoa and gold increased at least 0.5 percent as 17 of 24 commodities in the S&P GSCI Index climbed, sending the gauge to the highest since October.

Gold holdings in exchange-traded products are poised for the biggest monthly decline in more than a year as global economic recovery curbed demand for the metal.

Assets contracted 0.8 percent so far in January, the largest decrease since December 2011, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The holdings, which reached a record in December, dropped to a two-month low of 2,610.272 metric tons yesterday.

Analysts from Credit Suisse Group AG to Goldman Sachs Group Inc. are calling for gold to peak in 2013 after a 12-year rally as the global economy rebounds. U.S. durable-goods orders rose in December for an unprecedented fourth consecutive month, data showed yesterday, while China’s economy snapped a seven-quarter slowdown in the final three months of 2012.

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