US STOCKS-Wall St rises, S&P 500 at another record

Fri Feb 28, 2014 10:37am EST
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* S&P 500 at record, on track for strong week and month

* Fourth-quarter GDP, pending home sales miss expectations

* Jos. A. Bank rejects buyout offer, but willing to talk

* Indexes up: Dow 0.6 pct, S&P 0.6 pct, Nasdaq 0.4 pct

By Ryan Vlastelica

NEW YORK, Feb 28 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks rose on Friday as some positive economic data boosted the S&P 500 to record levels for a second straight day and put major indexes on track for strong gains in both the week and the month.

However, a discouraging read on economic growth pointed to an economy that continues to struggle, leaving some investors to question whether valuations are justified.

The Chicago Purchasing Managers Index rose to 59.8 in February, topping expectations, while the final February reading on consumer sentiment from the Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan Surveys of Consumers also rose more than expected.

The data bucked the trend of indicators coming in below forecasts, giving credence to the theory that the recent disappointments have come on harsh weather rather than weakening fundamentals. Stocks rose on Thursday, with the S&P 500 closing at a record, after Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen indicated support for this theory.   Continued...