Wall Street ekes out fourth day of gains

Wall Street ekes out fourth day of gains

New York: Wall Street ended with small gains after a surprisingly weak report on US new home sales dampened optimism from strong earnings news and data showing gains in US income and spending.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 1.51 points (0.01%) to 10,466.44 at the closing bell, managing to hold positive for a fourth day of gains.

The technology-rich Nasdaq composite climbed 16.97 points (0.75%) to 2,269.64 while the broad-market Standard & Poor’s 500 index added 2.58 points (0.23%) to a preliminary close of 1,120.60.

Some early gains faded after a government report showed sales of new US homes slid 11.3% in November to their lowest level since April.

Michael Zoller at Moody’s Economy.com said the surprisingly weak report negates several months of gains. But he said the figures may have been skewed by a government tax credit set to expire in November before Congress extended and expanded it.

“Those who were considering contracting a new home in November would have been unable to meet the 30 November deadline in order to claim the tax credit," he said.

“Though the tax credit was extended and expanded, November buyers had no way of knowing in advance that their sales would qualify. This month may therefore be an anomaly, and an increase in new home sales in December would not be shocking."