Stocks Closed at 5-Year High on Data

U.S. stock gains on Thursday, boosting the S&P 500 to a five-year high as upbeat jobs and housing reports offered respite from politics and other concerns. The Dow Jones industrial average was up 84.79 points, or 0.63 percent, at 13,596.02. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index was up 8.31 points, or 0.56 percent, at 1,480.94. The Nasdaq Composite Index was up 18.46 points, or 0.59 percent, at 3,136.00.

Rio Tinto (RIO.L) sacked chief executive Tom Albanese on Thursday and revealed a $14 billion writedown almost entirely on the value of his two most significant acquisitions, the Alcan aluminium group and Mozambican coal.

Intel Corp. reported a 27% drop in earnings for the fourth quarter on Thursday afternoon, with the chip giant citing a sharp slump in PC demand as well as other factors. For the period ended Dec. 29, Intel (NASDAQ:INTC) reported net income of $2.6 billion, or 48 cents a share, compared to net income of $3.4 billion, or 64 cents a share, for the same period the previous year. Revenue fell 3% to $13.5 billion.

Citigroup Inc.’s C -2.92%new chief executive, Michael Corbat, in his first quarterly earnings announcement, unveiled results that fell far short of forecasts and told investors to lower their expectations for the bank’s return on assets. Citi’s fourth-quarter net income rose 25% to $1.2 billion from $956 million a year earlier.

Crude-oil futures rose Thursday, briefly surpassing $96 a barrel on supply concerns arising from the takeover of a natural-gas plant in Algeria by Islamist militants and the subsequent deaths of some hostages. Light, sweet crude for February delivery (NMN:CLG3) traded as high as $96.04 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

Gold futures neared $1,700 an ounce Thursday, settling at their highest in a month. Gold for February delivery (CNS:GCG3)  added $7.60, or 0.5%, to settle at $1,690.80 an ounce on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange.

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