S&P 500 advances while European stocks fall; euro strengthens

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The S&P/Case-Shiller index of property values advanced 13.3% after increasing 12.8% a month earlier. More applications for home construction were issued in October than at any time in the past five years, figures from the Commerce Department showed today. The agency postponed publishing housing-starts data due today to Dec. 18 because of a lapse in funding after a 16-day partial government shutdown last month.

Confidence among U.S. consumers unexpectedly declined in November to a seven-month low as Americans grew more pessimistic about the labor-market outlook, the Conference Board report showed. The overall business activity index for mid-Atlantic region factories rose to 13 in November, according to the latest report from the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond.

“Investors want to start closing their risk-profile into the year end, particularly after very strong returns for the market this year,” Gerry Fowler, head of equity and derivative strategy at BNP Paribas SA in London, told Francine Lacqua on Bloomberg Television. “They want to lock that in and don’t want to take the risk.”

Tiffany Gains

Lennar Corp. and PulteGroup Inc. climbed at least 3.8%, leading a rally among homebuilders. Tiffany & Co. jumped 9% after profit topped analysts’ estimates and the jeweler boosted its forecast. Jos. A. Bank Clothiers Inc. surged 11% after Men’s Wearhouse Inc. offered to buy the apparel company for about $1.54 billion. Take-Two Interactive Software Inc. lost 5.2% as the gaming company said it bought back all 12 million shares held by Icahn Group.

Remy Cointreau SA led European shares lower after the maker of Remy Martin cognac said it expects a “substantial” drop in annual earnings, while Hugo Boss AG postponed a profitability target.

More than three shares fell for every two that gained in the Stoxx 600, which closed yesterday within 0.2% of a five-year high reached on Nov. 18. Trading volumes were 22% above the 30-day average today, data compiled by Bloomberg show. The gauge has climbed 15% in 2013, headed for its best year since 2009.

Remy, Hugo

Remy lost 8.3% after posting first-half adjusted operating profit that declined 7.3% to 132.7 million euros ($179.5 million) on an organic basis. Hugo Boss, the German luxury-clothing maker controlled by buyout firm Permira Advisers LLP, fell 2.1%.

Repsol SA advanced 4.3% after the governments of Spain and Argentina reached a preliminary agreement to compensate the Madrid-based oil company for its stake in YPF SA.

Treasuries gained after the U.S. sale of $35 billion of five-year notes drew a lower-than-forecast yield.

The notes yielded 1.34% compared with a forecast of 1.347% in a Bloomberg News survey of nine of the Federal Reserve’s 21 primary dealers. The bid-to-cover ratio, which gauges demand by comparing total bids with the amount of securities offered, was 2.61 versus an average of 2.67 for the past 10 sales.

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