S&P 500 creeps near its 4-year high; Cisco roars
NEW YORK — Encouraging earnings from Cisco Systems and hopeful signs in a housing report lifted the stock market Thursday. The gains nudged the S&P 500 index near the four-year high it reached this year.
Cisco led the 30 stocks in the Dow Jones industrial average, surging 10 percent. The maker of computer networking equipment reported earnings late Wednesday that beat expectations, and it raised its dividend.
Before the market opened Thursday, the Commerce Department reported that construction of single-family homes and apartments dipped 1.1 percent in July compared with June.
But market analysts seized on another number — building permits jumped to 812,000, the most since August 2008 and a hint of stronger construction in coming months.
The S&P 500 gained 9.98 to close at 1,415.51. The Dow rose 85.33 to 13,250.11. The Nasdaq rose 31.46 to 3,062.39.
Mount Pleasant resort to build new restaurant
Charleston Harbor Resort & Marina at Patriots Point will break ground today on a new restaurant. The 18,000-square-foot structure will include outdoor seating, private dining, nautically inspired decor and a rooftop bar. The building also will house a private yacht club, fitness center and marina support store.
Wal-Mart’s 2Q profit up 5.7%, outlook is raised
NEW YORK — Wal-Mart Stores Inc. reported a 5.7 percent increase in second-quarter net income and raised its outlook for the full year as the world’s largest retailer continues to woo back frugal shoppers by trumpeting the lowest prices on everything from clothes to electronics.
But Wal-Mart is seeing its momentum slow down amid a tough economic climate in the U.S. and abroad.
Its total revenue came in short of Wall Street estimates, and the chain is delaying store expansion plans in Mexico, its largest international division, as it deals with bribery charges there.
It also is scaling back store growth plans in China and Brazil to boost profitability in those operations.
Investors, who had sent the stock up 25 percent since mid-May, pushed shares down more than 3 percent Thursday.
Facebook hits new low as lock-up period ends
SAN FRANCISCO — Facebook’s stock plunged to a new low Thursday as some of the social networking leader’s early backers got their first chance to sell their shares since the company’s initial public offering went awry.
Analysts interpreted the unusually high trading volume as a clear sign that at least a few of the insiders were seizing on a fresh selling opportunity.
That is stirring a debate over whether they simply were locking in long-awaited gains on investments made many years ago or bailing out of a company that has lost its luster.
A breakdown of how many major Facebook shareholders sold their stock probably won’t be available until next week at the earliest.
Groupon stock hits another low after latest results
SAN FRANCISCO — Groupon’s stock hit another low, days after the online deals company issued a lackluster quarterly report. Groupon fell 32 cents, or 6 percent, to close Thursday at $5.
Earlier it hit $4.97, its lowest level since its initial public offering in November. The stock’s IPO price was $20, so it has lost 75 percent of its value.
On Monday, Groupon reported its first-ever quarter-to-quarter decline in gross billings. That’s a closely watched number because it measures how much money is collected from merchants.
Staff and wire reports