* Home Depot climbs after earnings, outlook
* Apple retakes triple-digit territory, hits $100
* July U.S. housing starts exceed expectations; CPI barely
* Dow up 0.5 pct; S&P 500 up 0.4 pct; Nasdaq up 0.3 pct
(Updates to midday)
By Chuck Mikolajczak
NEW YORK, Aug 19 U.S. stocks advanced on Tuesday
after solid earnings from Home Depot helped lift retailers'
shares and Apple touched $100 for the first time since its stock
split this summer. Data on housing and inflation gave the market
Home Depot Inc gained 6 percent to $88.66, marking
the stock's largest percentage gain since May 2009 and giving
the biggest boost to the Dow. The world's largest home
improvement retailer reported earnings and revenue that topped
Wall Street's expectations. Home Depot also raised its full-year
The S&P 500 retail index shot up 2 percent, its
biggest gain since Feb. 6. The index is up nearly 6 percent for
the month so far.
Apple Inc returned to the triple-digit zone,
hitting $100 for the first time since its seven-for-one stock
split in June and giving the iPad and iPhone maker a market
capitalization that topped $600 billion. The rally in Apple's
stock was the single biggest force lifting the S&P 500 and the
Nasdaq 100 index on Tuesday. At midday, Apple was up 1.3
percent at $100.49.
"People have been looking to put a stake in the heart of
retailers, due to a weak consumer and weak jobs market,
relatively speaking, but they have been a 'bend but don't break'
group, which gives a comfort to those on the fence," said Andre
Bakhos, managing director at Janlyn Capital LLC in
Bernardsville, New Jersey.
Housing starts rebounded strongly in July as groundbreaking
surged 15.7 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual pace of 1.09
million units to halt two straight months of declines and top
expectations for a rate of 969,000 units.
In addition, the Consumer Price Index edged up 0.1 percent
last month, in line with expectations, which could give the
Federal Reserve reason to keep interest rates low for a while.
"All of these together are giving the market a good tone,
shrugging off the recent dip related to geopolitical concerns,"
Minutes from the Federal Reserve's July meeting will be
released on Wednesday. Investors will also closely monitor the
annual meeting of top central bankers in Jackson Hole, Wyoming,
from Thursday through Saturday for possible insight into the
path for monetary policy.
The Dow Jones industrial average rose 75.83 points or
0.45 percent, to 16,914.57. The S&P 500 gained 8.54
points or 0.43 percent, to 1,980.28. The Nasdaq Composite
added 12.39 points or 0.27 percent, to 4,520.70.
Shares of discount retailer TJX Cos Inc jumped 8.6
percent to $58.51 and the stock of teen-oriented chain Urban
Outfitters Inc rose 4.1 percent to $38.43 - both after
Dick's Sporting Goods shares advanced 3.3 percent to
$44.96 after the retailer's second-quarter results topped
The shares of youth-oriented retailer Aeropostale Inc
surged 22.8 percent to $3.98. Aeropostale said it had
reappointed Julian Geiger as chief executive officer and
forecast a smaller loss than its earlier view.
In contrast to retailers' overall strength for the day,
shares of Elizabeth Arden Inc sank 24 percent to $14.91
after the company reported the biggest quarterly loss in its
history due to a steeper-than-anticipated drop in sales of
(Reporting by Chuck Mikolajczak; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama,
Nick Zieminski and Jan Paschal)