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  • Dow Jones Industrial Average up 74.39 (+0.58%) to 13,001.56
  • S&P 500 up 5.03 (+0.37%) to 1,371.97
  • Nasdaq Composite down 8.85 (-0.30%) to 2,961.60

GLOBAL SENTIMENT

  • Nikkei 225 down 0.78%
  • Hang Seng Index up 0.26%
  • China Shanghai Composite Index up 0.01%
  • FTSE 100 up 0.78%

U.S. stock futures were headed to a mixed close; with the blue chip Dow indicated to finish higher, and the tech based Nasdaq slipping into negative territory. The S&P 500 was volatile, swinging between gains and losses, but inched higher just ahead of closing bell, gaining strength from today's advance in commodities prices.

In economic news, U.S. home prices fell sharply in February to hit their worst level in nearly a decade, according to the S&P/Case-Shiller 20-city composite index. Overall, prices fell 0.8% compared to January levels with a year-over-year decline of 3.5% and the index sliding to its lowest level since October 2002. Of the 20 cities measured, 16 had negative readings and only three showed gains.

New home sales also fell 7.1% to 328,000 homes during March but managed to beat expectations. February sales were upwardly revised to 353,000 from an initial 313,000 reading. The Briefing.com consensus pegged new home sales during March at 318,000.

Also today, the Conference Board's Consumer Confidence Index was nearly unchanged in April, falling from a revised 69.5 in March to 69.2. The Briefing.com consensus pegged the index at 69.5. The March number was trimmed from an original 70.2 reading.

Apple (OTC:APPL) shares fell, which contributed to the Nasdaq's decline, ahead of the company's second fiscal quarter results, due after the closing bell. Wall Street expects strong earnings growth for the period, driven mainly by the iPhone. AAPL's shares have witnessed a sell-off over the past couple weeks due to a few factors, including technical pressures.

Commodities ended the day's session mostly higher. Crude-oil futures advanced, gaining strength from a weaker dollar to finish up 0.4% at $103.55 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Gold futures erased some of their recent losses, adding $11.20, or 0.7%, to settle at $1,643.80 an ounce on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange. This is gold's highest close in a week.

UPSIDE MOVERS

(+) T, Dow component earnings rise 5.2%, EPS of $0.60 beat Street call by $0.03.

(+) ALGN, Q1 EPS rises to $0.27 from $0.21 a year-ago; issues bullish Q2 outlook.

(+) CLS, Q1 earning of $0.25 a share, $0.06 above Thomson Reuters consensus.

(+) AFFY, Announced new injection available.

(+) RF, Reports Earnings Above Estimates.

DOWNSIDE MOVERS

(-) NFLX, New subscriber growth slowed in Q2.

(-) WAT, Earnings miss expectations.

(-) BIG, Trims fiscal Q3 outlook to $0.26 to $0.32 a share, nearly unchanged from Q2.

(-) SANM, Reduces Q4 estimates, citing higher deferred revenues.

Source: Dow Climbs, Tech Pressures Nasdaq