Stocks Gain Despite Disappointing Home Sales and Poor GDP

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- U.S. stocks rose Thursday afternoon despite disappointing home sales. Jobless claims fell more than expected, while investors overlooked a poor result for first-quarter GDP.

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  • The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 0.39% to 16,698.68, while the Nasdaq was up 0.54% to 4,247.95. The S&P 500 added 0.54% to 1,920.03.
  • Contracts to buy previously owned homes rose 0.4% in April after a 3.4% gain in March, the National Association of Realtors said. Expectations were for a 1% rise.
  • Gross domestic product fell at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1% in the first quarter, the Commerce Department said Thursday. It is the first time economic output has contracted since the first quarter of 2011.
  • "It is already self-evident that much of the first quarter growth was pushed forward to the second quarter, which is likely to be gangbusters with some estimates as high as 5%," Voya Global Perspectives chief market strategist Douglas Cote told clients. 
  • Individuals filing for jobless benefits in the week ended May 24 fell by 27,000 to 300,000 from the previous week's 327,000, the U.S. Department of Labor said. Expectations were for jobless claims to fall to 317,000. 
  • International markets were mixed with the FTSE 100 closing up 0.29% and the DAX flat. The Nikkei 225 edged 0.07% higher, and the Hong Kong Hang Seng dropped 0.3%.
  • Meat producer Hillshire Brands  (HSH) leapt 17.6% after Tyson (TSN) bid $50 a share in cash for the company.
  • Apple (AAPL) has agreed to acquire Beats Electronics for $3 billion, $2.6 billion in cash and the remainder in equity which will vest over time. Shares of Apple climbed 1.8%.
  • Membership-only retailer Costco (COST) reported a 3.1% increase in third-quarter profit to $473 million, or $1.07 a share, but fell shy of analysts' estimates by 2 cents, according to Thomson Reuters. Though Costco fared moderately well in a quarter which brought some of the best retailers to their knees, shares were off 0.05%.
  • Shares of Abercrombie & Fitch (ANF) added more than 5.5% after the teen retailer managed to stem losses in its first quarter. Net losses of $13 million, or 17 cents a share, were narrower than analysts' forecasts for losses of $13.4 million, or 19 cents a share. Total sales slipped 2% to $822 million, higher than an anticipated $798 million.
  • Palo Alto Networks (PANW) shares were up 5.1% after the company reported third-quarter profit of 11 cents a share, a penny over estimates. Separately, the company said it had settled patent litigation with Juniper Networks (JNPR), agreeing to pay a one-time penalty of $175 million. Avago Technologies (AVGO), Lions Gate (LGF) and Veeva Systems (VEEV) will be on watch after the bell following their respective earnings reports.
 -- By Jane Searle and Joe Deaux in New York.

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