Stocks Shoot for Weekly Gain

U.S. equity markets posted big gains on Thursday as a round of strong economic data helped offset worries about hawkish Fed comments.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 108.9 points, or 0.67%, to 16331, the S&P 500 climbed 11.2 points, or 0.6%, to 1872 and the Nasdaq Composite jumped 11.7 points, or 0.27%, to 4319.

The National Association of Realtors reported sales of existing single-family homes fell 0.4% to an annualized rate of 4.6 million units in February, matching expectations. Still, it was the lowest reading since July 2012.

Lennar reported a 36% increase in its first-quarter earnings, as the home builder’s average selling prices continued to tick higher.

In other corporate news, Disney (NYSE:DIS) teamed up with IMAX (NYSE:IMAX) to bring upcoming Marvel and Star Wars films to the big-screen theaters.

Starbucks (NASDAQ:SBUX) is expanding its menu to include wine, beer and truffle macaroni and cheese, hoping to revive late-day revenue.