S&P 500 Strikes New Closing High in Thin Trade

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The broad S&P 500 notched a record close for the eleventh time this year amid strong housing data. However, trading volume was quite light ahead of Memorial Day.

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According to preliminary calculations, the Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed 63.1 points, or 0.38%, to 16606, the S&P 500 advanced 8.1 points, or 0.43%, to 1900 and the Nasdaq Composite rose 31.5 points, or 0.76%, to 4186.

The broad S&P 500 has once again climbed within striking distance of its all-time highs. The move comes as traders shake off geopolitical tumult in Europe and Asia. 

The economic calendar is fairly light on the day. The Commerce Department said sales of new single-family homes rose 6.4% in April to an annualized rate of 433,000 units. Wall Street was looking for sales to rise to a rate of 425,000 units. The housing market is in the process of rebounding from a dip during the winter caused by unusually harsh weather. 

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On the corporate front, Hewlett-Packard (HPQ) revealed mixed quarterly results just before the closing bell rang on Thursday. Shares of the blue-chip PC maker were little changed. Gap (GPS) saw a steep 22% drop in its quarterly profits, but sales actually pushed slightly higher. 

Traders also said they would be paying close attention to an election in Ukraine over the weekend. In particular, they said they would be watching Russia's response. 

In commodities, U.S. crude oil futures rose 25 cents, or 0.25%, to $104 a barrel. Wholesale New York Harbor gasoline dipped 0.02% to $3.01 a gallon. Gold slumped $4.60, or 0.36%, to $1,290.

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