May 23, 2014 / 2:45 PM / 4 years ago

US STOCKS-Wall St rises modestly after new home sales data

* HP gains after results, job cut plans

* Aeropostale plunges after outlook

* New home sales rebound

* PTC shares soar on EU backing for muscular dystrophy drug

* Indexes up: Dow 0.33 pct, S&P 0.3 pct, Nasdaq 0.32 pct (Updates to market open, adds quote)

By Chuck Mikolajczak

NEW YORK, May 23 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks rose modestly on Friday, after a better-than-expected reading on the housing market, as the S&P held just below its record intraday high.

Sales of new U.S. single-family homes increased 6.4 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 433,000 units, ending two straight months of declines, the latest evidence the housing market may be finding its footing.

The S&P is 0.2 percent from its record intraday high of 1,902.17 set on May 13 and is above its record closing high of 1,897.45 set on the same day. The index has been range-bound between the highs and its 50-day moving average as investors have been unsure of the pace of the economic recovery.

“The choppiness in the data is creating the choppiness in the market and it’s occurring near all-time highs,” said Andre Bakhos, managing director at Janlyn Capital LLC in Bernardsville, New Jersey.

“You have two camps - one believes the resolution is to the upside and the other is saying there is nothing in these catalysts that is new and exciting that is going to become a magnet for additional funds to come into the market.”

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 53.81 points or 0.33 percent, to 16,596.89, the S&P 500 gained 5.68 points or 0.3 percent, to 1,898.17 and the Nasdaq Composite added 13.12 points or 0.32 percent, to 4,167.47.

Volume is expected to be light Friday ahead of an extended holiday weekend, with Wall Street closed Monday for Memorial Day.

Hewlett-Packard Co jumped 6.5 percent to $33.86 as the best performer on the S&P 500 after it reported quarterly results and said it may cut as many as 16,000 more jobs in a major ramp-up of CEO Meg Whitman’s years-long effort to turn around the personal computer maker and relieve pressure on its profit margins.

Aeropostale tumbled 21.7 percent to $3.54 after the teen apparel retailer forecast a bigger-than-expected loss for the current quarter.

Foot Locker shares edged up 0.8 percent to $48.54 after the athletic footwear and apparel retailer posted first-quarter earnings.

PTC Therapeutics shares surged 56.2 percent to $23.93 after European regulators recommended a conditional marketing authorization for the biotech company’s drug for Duchenne muscular dystrophy. (Editing by Bernadette Baum)

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