Benchmark yields traded under the 200-day moving average for a seventh day as sales of previously owned U.S. homes unexpectedly dropped in March, showing uneven progress in the industry. Yields climbed earlier after the re-election of Giorgio Napolitano as Italy’s president boosted speculation he will help resolve the nation’s political gridlock.
Purchases of previously owned houses, tabulated when a contract closes, fell 0.6% to a 4.92 million annual rate last month, figures from the National Association of Realtors showed today in Washington. The median forecast of 75 economists surveyed by Bloomberg projected sales would increase to a 5 million rate. Prices climbed, reflecting more demand for higher- priced houses.
Gauges of energy and raw-material producers climbed at least 1% to lead gains in eight of the 10 main industries in the S&P 500, with Newmont Mining Corp. and Exxon Mobil Corp. rising at least 0.7% to pace the advance.
Caterpillar Inc. gained 2.8% as the company said it plans to resume its stock buybacks and that output in China will rise, overshadowing disappointing earnings and a reduced 2013 forecast. Halliburton Co. jumped 5.6% after reporting first-quarter profit that exceeded analysts’ estimates. Power- One Inc. soared 57% after ABB Ltd. agreed to buy the maker of solar-power inverters for about $1 billion.
Earnings beat estimates at 72% of the 106 companies in the S&P 500 that posted results so far this season, while less than 50% exceeded revenue projections, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
Italian banks helped lead gains in European shares today. UniCredit SpA and Banco Popolare SC advanced at least 2.7%. Italy’s Napolitano, the 87-year-old head of state, admonished the fractious lawmakers who brought him back for a second term and pledged to break the country’s political impasse. Napolitano will be sworn in for a second seven-year term today and could begin consultations on a new government as soon as tomorrow
Delhaize Group SA climbed 11% after the Brussels- based retailer reported earnings that beat analyst estimates.
Italy’s two-year note yield slid as much as 13 basis points to a record low of 1.21%, while 10-year yields fell 17 basis points to 4.06%, the lowest since November 2010. The yield on benchmark German bunds slipped two basis points to 1.23%. The euro strengthened against 12 of 16 major peers.
The Swedish krona rose against 14 of its 16 major peers after Riksbank Deputy Governor Lars E.O. Svensson said he will leave the central bank’s board when his term expires after failing to get support for his calls for deeper interest rate cuts.
The yen slid earlier against the dollar as Bank of Japan Governor Haruhiko Kuroda said he was emboldened to press ahead with policy that includes buying 7 trillion yen ($70.1 billion) of bonds each month after the Group of 20 nations backed stimulus efforts.
The MSCI Emerging Markets Index was little changed. The Philippine Stock Exchange Index surged 2.4%, the most in almost four weeks, on speculation the central bank will cut rates on deposit accounts this week. Benchmark gauges South Korea and the Czech Republic gained more than 1%. Brazil’s Bovespa increased 0.6%.
The Shanghai Composite Index slipped 0.1% as Chinese insurers slumped on concern claims arising from the Sichuan quake will hurt earnings.