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Investments

Strong Stewart equity gains lift HW 30

Investors shrug off bad retail, jobless data for day of gains

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Stocks rose Thursday into the afternoon, erasing earlier losses as buyers shrugged off the dismal retail sales news for January and the increase in jobless claims.

Retail sales fell 0.4 percent in January after a revised 0.1 percent drop for December, the Commerce Department said.

While some shrugged it off as weather-related, the decline in online sales is not so easily dismissed.

Further, jobless claims climbed 8,000 to reach 339,000 in the week ending Feb. 8.

Still, investors, like the lotus-eaters of old, forged ahead and at 3 p.m. ET, the Dow was up 0.5% to 16,034, while the S&P500 was up 0.5% to 1,828. The Nasdaq gained 0.75% to stand at 4,232.

The HW 30 – the index of leading stocks that drive the housing market – was up 0.47% at 1,095.46.

Stewart Information Services (STC) led the HW 30 pack after it reported $15.5 million in earnings for the fourth quarter of 2013 and $101.1 million for fiscal 2013. It was up 11.07% to $35.76.

Ocwen Financial Corp.(OCN) was down for the day, presumably still having more drag than lift after the New York Department of Financial Services put a halt on their $2.7 billion MSR deal. Ocwen was down 2.8% and Nationstar (NSM) was down 0.53% at 3 p.m. ET.

Ellie Mae (ELLI) was down 3.67% in anticipation of its financials, scheduled to come out at the end of trading Thursday.

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