* Apple retakes triple-digit territory, hits $100
* Retail shares soar on earnings reports
* July U.S. housing starts exceed expectations; CPI barely
* Dow up 0.46 pct; S&P 500 up 0.46 pct; Nasdaq up 0.35 pct
(Updates to afternoon, changes quote)
By Akane Otani
NEW YORK, Aug 19 U.S. stocks rose for a second
straight session on Tuesday as upbeat housing market data and
strong earnings from Dow industrials component Home Depot
overshadowed lingering worry about the conflict in Ukraine.
Apple Inc shares were capturing a lot of attention
after returning to the triple-digit arena, hitting $100 for the
first time since its seven-for-one stock split in June.
Apple's stock, which gained 1.4 percent in heavy volume to
just below its record of $100.58, contributed the most to gains
for both the S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite.
The Nasdaq added to gains after closing at a 14-year high on
Monday, while the S&P inched toward its all-time high of
1,991.39, reached on July 24.
Consumer discretionary shares led advances in the S&P as a
string of positive earnings reports lifted the stocks of major
retailers. Home Depot Inc rose 6 percent to $88.66 after
beating Wall Street's earnings expectations, marking the stock's
largest percentage gain since May 2009.
The S&P 500 retail index shot up 2.1 percent, its
biggest gain since Feb. 6. The index is up nearly 6 percent for
the month so far.
The Dow Jones industrial average rose 77.75 points,
or 0.46 percent, to 16,916.49. The S&P 500 was up 9.08
points, or 0.46 percent, to 1,980.82. The Nasdaq Composite
added 16.00 points, or 0.35 percent, to 4,524.31.
Encouraging data on the economic front provided another
boost. Housing starts posted their strongest rebound in eight
months in July, topping expectations and adding another data
point to suggest optimism is returning among homebuilders.
That helped investors gain confidence in the face of
continuing tensions along the Ukraine-Russia border.
The standoff there has been a source of anxiety
in markets for weeks.
"The market has enjoyed a retreat from geopolitical
tensions, and we're seeing sectors that we were concerned about
lagging, like housing and consumer discretionary, gaining, which
is positive," said Quincy Krosby, market strategist at
Prudential Financial in Newark, New Jersey.
"It's all reflective of a view that the economy, despite
some of the weaker or mixed data, is continuing to gain
Quarterly results sent shares of discount retailer TJX Cos
Inc up 9.3 percent to $58.91 and the stock of
teen-oriented chain Urban Outfitters Inc up 3.9 percent
Dick's Sporting Goods shares advanced 2.8 percent to
$44.72 after results topped forecasts.
In contrast to retailers' overall strength, shares of
Elizabeth Arden Inc sank 24 percent to $14.95 after the
company reported the biggest quarterly loss in its history due
to a steeper-than-anticipated drop in sales of celebrity
(Reporting by Akane Otani; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama, Nick
Zieminski and Jan Paschal)