* S&P 500 hits intraday record, continues recent strength
* Vertex soars after clinical trial, Micron up on outlook
* Consumer confidence, new home sales top expectations
* Indexes up: Dow 0.1 pct, S&P 0.2 pct, Nasdaq 0.7 pct
(Updates to midday trading)
By Ryan Vlastelica
NEW YORK, June 24 U.S. stocks rose on Tuesday,
boosted by some strong data while the Nasdaq outperformed thanks
to gains in technology and biotech shares.
In the latest signs of improving economic conditions,
consumer confidence surged more than expected in June, while May
new home sales rose more than anticipated. The housing data
built on Monday's similarly bullish read on existing home sales,
though a report on home prices was below forecasts.
With the day's gains, the S&P hit another intraday record
and is on track for its seventh advance over the past eight
sessions. While the Dow remains slightly under its intraday
record, it is on track for a record close.
Consumer confidence hit its highest level since January 2008
in June, while new home sales jumped 18.6 percent to a six-year
high in May. The PHLX Housing index rose 0.8 percent.
"If the consumer is happy, stocks are happy and people are
more comfortable taking on risk," said Jonathan Lewis, chief
investment officer at Samson Capital Advisors in New York. "This
is a continuation of a trend of stocks finding their footing as
data continues to firm."
In another data point, the S&P/Case-Shiller composite index
showed single-family home prices rose less than expected in
The Dow Jones industrial average rose 18.55 points or
0.11 percent, to 16,955.81, the S&P 500 gained 3.95
points or 0.2 percent, to 1,966.56 and the Nasdaq Composite
added 28.67 points or 0.66 percent, to 4,397.35.
The Nasdaq is on track for its best day in three weeks,
thanks to Vertex Pharmaceuticals Inc, the S&P 500's
biggest gainer by far, which soared 42 percent to $94.72 in
heavy volume to lift the Nasdaq Biotech index 2.1
Vertex said a combination of drugs designed to treat cystic
fibrosis succeeded in improving lung function in a pair of
closely watched late-stage clinical trials.
Micron Technology Inc also supported the Nasdaq,
rising 4.9 percent to $32.79 a day after giving a revenue
outlook that exceeded analysts' expectations.
On the downside, Walgreen Co fell 1.9 percent to
$72.36 after reporting its third-quarter results.
IntercontinentalExchange Inc was the S&P's biggest
decliner, off 3.6 percent to $191.07, after Wells Fargo
downgraded the exchange to "market perform" from "outperform."
Investors continued to eye geopolitical tensions in Iraq and
Ukraine. German business sentiment weakened more than expected
in June as concern grew among companies in Europe's largest
economy that tensions in the regions would hurt their business.
(Editing by Bernadette Baum and Nick Zieminski)