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Fed Speak and Econ Data Lift Dow Back Above 15,000

Dan Berman
Hot Stock Minute

Stocks posted large gains today with the Dow reclaiming 15,000 and posting its 15th 100-point move this month. Markets were lifted in part by speeches from several Fed policymakers. There was also encouraging economic data. The Commerce Department says personal income rose 0.5% for May when expectations were for 0.2%. The same report says consumer spending increased 0.3% for the month, matching estimates. Separately, the Labor Department says weekly jobless claims dropped by 9,000 to 346,000; just about in line with estimates. Meanwhile, the National Association of Realtors says pending home sales hit a six-year high in for May with a climb of 6%.

ConAgra (CAG) popped today as much as a bag of its Orville Redenbacher popcorn. Shares moved up 5% on quarterly earnings. Results for the food conglomerate were pretty much in line with estimates. Adjusted earnings per share came in a penny above consensus at 60-cents. Revenues, on the other hand, were slightly under expectations at $4.6 billion. ConAgra says sales overall jumped on its acquisition of Ralcorp. It's now predicting annual growth of 10% through 2017.

KB Home (KBH) narrowed its losses and beat estimates in the last quarter but still closed down 1%. The company said today that it lost 4-cents during the period when consensus was for a loss of 7-cents. A year ago losses were 31-cents a share. Meanwhile, revenue soared 74% to $524.4 million. The company says its number of home deliveries jumped 39%, just as the mean selling price spike by 25%. Shares of KB are up 22% this year, despite a bit of a pullback in recent months. The stock is up more than 130% since this time last year.

Shares of Dish Network (DISH) rose 3% now that the company has cleared its place of possible takeovers. Founder Charlie Ergen withdrew yesterday from a bidding war with Sprint (S) to buy Clearwire (CLWR). It was the second defeat for Dish in under a week involving Sprint. Last Friday, Ergen also retreated from a battle to buy the nation's number three cell company when Japan's Softbank upped the stakes. Shares of Sprint were basically unchanged for much of the day. Clearwire was down 2%.

Progress Software (PRGS) rose 5% today after reporting quarterly results after yesterday's closing bell. It beat expectations with 27-cents a share when estimates were 22-cents. It also beat on revenue with $82 million and announced a share buyback program. The stock has spent 2013 within about a $4 range. It set a 52-week high of $24.50 back in January.