A rally in shares of Apple and tepid economic growth that pointed to rate hikes later rather than sooner, helped lift U.S. stocks. Bobbi Rebell reports.
Stocks rose, pushing the Dow and S&P 500 to record highs. Once again, weak economic data had investors betting that the Fed won't raise interest rates soon. Home builders' confidence fell in April for the fourth time in the last five months. The National Association of Home Builders, which put out the survey, said consumers are being cautious. Bankrate.com's Greg McBride: SOUNDBITE: GREG MCBRIDE, CHIEF FINANCIAL ANALYST, BANKRATE.COM (ENGLISH) SAYING: "People aren't seeing more money in their paychecks, and that's why they're hesitant to go buy that first house or to put their existing home on the market and go shop for a new one. Until people see more money in their paychecks, I think, housing is going to continue to just really be sluggish and not be that great contributor we need it to be for this economy to really get rolling." Shares of Apple moved higher. In an open letter to CEO Tim Cook, billionaire investor Carl Icahn said the stock was dramatially undervalued, and should be double its current price. It's merger Monday. Ann shares soared. Ascena, the operator of women's wear brands Lane Bryant and Dressbarn is paying $2.2 billion for the parent of the iconic officewear chain, Ann Taylor. Ascena shares descended. Jefferies says the acquisition could put Chico's, Guess, and Michael Kors into play as possible buyout candidates. Endo's stock fell. The drug maker will double its revenue from generics with its purchase of Par Pharmaceutical for $8 billion. Generic drugs are expected to grow as branded drugs lose patent protection. Another possible marriage: the New York Post reports Intel and Altera have resumed talks on a possible buyout topping $13 billion. Both stocks rose. Eleven Biotherapeutics's shares plummeted. It was the biggest loser on the Nasdaq. Its drug to treat dry eye disease failed in a late-stage study, and it said it sees no path forward for the drug in that disease. In Europe, shares rose as investors got more optimistic over a deal on Greek debt.