S&P 500 rises above record closing level on GDP, Europe optimism

Year-End Predication

The average year-end prediction of 17 Wall Street strategists surveyed by Bloomberg is for the S&P 500 to keep rising to 1,583. The gauge’s advance during the rally exceeds the average bull-market return of 120%, Birinyi data show. Two of the last nine cycles have rallied more than today’s advance -- the 302% gain in the 1990s and 229% in the 1980s, the data show.

The Chicago Board Options Exchange Volatility Index, which measures the cost of using options as insurance against claims, fell 1.5% to 12.95 today. The gauge, known as the VIX, dropped to its lowest level since February 2007 on March 11 and has retreated 28% this year.

McDonald’s gained 0.8% to $99.66 and IBM added 0.6% to $212.25 to pace advances among the largest companies.

EBay Inc. rallied 4.2% to $54.23. The operator of the world’s largest online marketplace said it expects to have merchandise volume of $110 billion by 2015 as its active user base expands to 200 million, aided by emerging markets.

GameStop rallied 4.9% to $27.75. The world’s largest video-game retailer reported fourth-quarter profit that beat analysts’ estimates, led by digital and mobile products.

Sheepskin Prices

Deckers surged 6.4% to $55.90. Jefferies analyst Randal Konik raised his price target on the Ugg brand owner to $100 from a previous estimate of $65, noting the likelihood of sheepskin prices falling this year.

BlackBerry, formerly known as Research In Motion Ltd., rose 2.2% to $14.88. The company, which is attempting a comeback with a new lineup of smartphones, reported a surprise profit in the fourth quarter after embarking on a cost-cutting program last year, even as sales continued to trail projections.

Banks declined among 24 groups in the S&P 500. Bank of America slid 0.7% to $12.15 and Morgan Stanley dropped 1% to $22.07.

An S&P index of homebuilders retreated 1.2%, as 10 of 11 members fell. Toll Brothers Inc. slid 1.7% to $34.16, while Lennar Corp. lost 1.4% to $41.21.

PVH Corp. dropped 5% to $107.12. The owner of the Tommy Hilfiger brand said earnings will be $7 a share for the year, less than the average analyst estimate of $7.41 a share.

Bloomberg News

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