Home Depot advanced 4.7 percent, leading the Dow Jones Industrial Average’s gain, after the biggest home-improvement retailer cut 7,000 jobs. Freeport-McMoRan surged 9.3 percent. Lennar Corp. jumped 14 percent after Citigroup Inc. recommended buying the homebuilder, saying its shares have fallen too far.
The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index added 0.6 percent to 836.57, trimming its yearly loss to 7.4 percent. The Dow rose 38.47 points, or 0.5 percent, to 8,116.03. The Russell 2000 Index climbed 1.3 percent.
Stocks rose in early trading as sales of previously owned homes last month unexpectedly rose 6.5 percent from a record low, propelled by the biggest slump in prices since the Great Depression, the National Association of Realtors said. Gains also came after the Conference Board’s index of leading economic indicators climbed 0.3 percent, the first gain in six months.
Benchmark indexes erased gains for about a half hour in afternoon trading after the White House said it would use the rest of the government’s $700 billion financial rescue package differently than the Bush administration had, focusing instead on consumers. The announcement by press secretary Robert Gibbs helped reverse a 4.3 percent rally in S&P 500 financial shares, sending the group down 2.1 percent.