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Upbeat Housing Data Boosts Markets To Higher Close

Upbeat housing data boosted the markets to a sharply higher close with the Dow climbing 95 points to 12,837. Nasdaq soared 34 points to 2929.

On the upside

US Steel (NYSE: X) warned that increasing steel imports may indicate potential trade violations by foreign steel companies.

The Las Cruces Centennial Solar Farm, which uses MEMC Electronic Materials' (NYSE: WFR) high performance Silvantis P280 photovoltaic modules, officially opened.

A Seeking Alpha contributor wrote yesterday that Key Energy (NYSE: KEG) was one of four oil stocks with upside potential.

On the downside

KeyBanc Capital Markets and Canaccord Genuity both downgraded Elster Group (NYSE: ELT) from a Buy to a Hold rating.

Archer Daniels Midland (NYSE: ADM) warned that earnings for its grain handling business has been below expectations.

Microsoft's (Nasdaq: MSFT) announcement that it would make its own Surface tablet weighed down shares of Dell (Nasdaq: DELL) and Hewlett-Packard (NYSE: HPQ).

In the broad market, advancing issues outpaced decliners by a margin of more than 5 to 1 on the NYSE and by nearly 7 to 2 on Nasdaq. The Russell 2000 which tracks small cap stocks surged 13 points to 786.

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