U.S. Stocks Post Weekly Gain Despite Less-than-Expected Growth

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- The U.S. economy may not be growing as fast as forecast but that hasn't slowed the march of u.s. stocks.

The S&P 500 slipped 0.2% to pare its gain for the week to 1.8%, closing at 1,583.11. The benchmark U.S. index has advanced 11% this year.

The Bureau of Economic Analysis said that U.S. GDP increased 2.5% in the first quarter after rising 0.4% in the fourth quarter. Analysts, on average, were expecting 3% growth, according to a Thomson Reuters poll.

Slower-than-expected U.s. growth was blamed on federal spending cuts that took a substantial bite out of GDP , partially offset by strength in household spending.

Investor outlook was bolstered by the final estimate of the University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment Index which beat expectations. The gauge registered 76.4 in April versus the initial estimate of 72.3; economists were expecting 73.2 in April.

J.C. Penney ( JCP) surged 12% to $17.07 after George Soros disclosed that his investment fund he had taken an 8% stake in the struggling retailer. Soros Fund Management disclosed in a Securities and Exchange Commission 13G filing, dated April 15, that it bought 17.4 million shares, or a 7.9% stake in the retailer's stock.

DR Horton ( DHI) jumped 58.7% to $26.67 after the homebuilder produced fiscal second-quarter earnings of 32 cents a share, beating estimates by 13 cents, with revenue also topping forecasts as net sales orders grew 34% from a year ago. Sales order backlogs increased 54%.

Cerner Corp. ( CERN ) added 4.6% to $95.88 after the supplier of healthcare information technology solutions projected 2013 earnings per share to be between $2.78 and $2.83, up from a prior range of $2.75 to $2.82. "We expect 2013 to be a very good year, as we have a significant pipeline of opportunities both with existing clients and prospective clients," CEO Neal Patterson said in a statement.

Declines were led by PerkinElmer ( PKI ) which tumbled 12% to $30.36 after the maker of scientific instruments, diagnostic equipment and environmental safety monitoring products lowered its 2013 earnings expectations Thursday to $2 to $2.10 a share from its previous estimate of $2.24 to $2.32.

June crude oil futures fell 64 cents to settle at $93 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange while June gold futures lost 0.3% to $1,463.45 an ounce.

Written by Andrea Tse in New York

>To contact the writer of this article, click here: Andrea Tse.

If you liked this article you might like

Forecast for S&P 500, Dow Industrials Remains Bullish, These Charts Show

Dow 20,000! It Should Mean Nothing to Investors, but Then Again...

Tradebird Investors Are Bullish on U.S. Stocks but Bearish on the Euro

Why Home Depot and Boeing Stock Fell Tuesday