Drop in home sales saps early gain on Wall Street

An early gain fades on Wall Street; Microsoft jumps after CEO says he will retire

Associated Press
Stock market closes higher; Microsoft surges
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FILE - In this Tuesday, Aug. 13, 2013, file photo, Trader Frederick Reimer works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. Encouraging economic figures from Asia and Europe helped stocks advance and broke a six-day losing streak for the Dow Jones industrial average on Thursday, Aug.22, 2013, though trading on the Nasdaq was interrupted by a technical glitch just after midday. (AP Photo/Richard Drew, File)

NEW YORK (AP) -- An early gain on Wall Street has faded at midday after the government reported that sales of new homes plunged.

The Dow Jones industrial average was up 13 points, or 0.1 percent, at 14,977 at midday Friday. It was up 29 points earlier.

The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose three points, or 0.2 percent, to 1,660.

The Nasdaq composite rose nine points, or 0.2 percent, to 3,647. Technical problems shut down the Nasdaq exchange for three hours on Thursday.

Microsoft jumped $1.71, or 5 percent, to $34.10 after the company said Steve Ballmer would retire as CEO within the next 12 months.

Bond yields fell and the price of gold rose to a two-month high after the home sales report shook investors' confidence in the housing recovery.

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