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Stocks Close Higher on Strong Housing Data

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Stocks Close Higher on Strong Housing Data

Stocks in the US started the trading session on a positive note, attempting for the third straight trading session to notch up a new all-time high. Sentiment continues to decline, as the deterioration of the US economy because of weather related issues has eroded confidence. Target (NYSE:TGT) reported earnings that had significant erosion due to their data breach. The major averages traded higher by 0.5% at its peak on Wednesday but in the last hour of trade, investors pushed the averages lower closing all three just barely in the black.

Sentiment continues to experience headwinds a reflected by the Conference Board’s index. On Tuesday the private group released the data which showed a decreased to 78.1 from a revised 79.4 in January that was weaker than initially estimated. Economists had expected a reading of 80.

Target reported that net profit almost halved the Q4 as the third-largest U.S. retailer dealt with the fallout of a massive data breach and warned that costs related to the event could hurt future profits. Target incurred $61 million in expenses related to the breach during the quarter, but those costs were offset by a $44 million insurance payment, bringing down the impact to $17 million. Net earnings fell to $520 million or $0.81 a share in the three months that ended on Feb 1, 2014 from $961 million, or $1.47 a share, a year earlier. Earnings were in line with expectations.

On the political front, David Camp, the Republican Chairman of the House Committee on Ways and Means, intends to introduce proposals Wednesday to overhaul and simplify the tax code. Camp wants to reduce the seven individual tax brackets and cut the top corporate income rate to 25% from 35%.

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