Scoreboard: House-proud USA

A rise in US home sales helped give Wall Street a modest push, while Chinese manufacturing figures also boosted market sentiment.

Stocks managed to push higher overnight, although gains were modest and there wasn’t a lot to really drive a bid. Early buying was perhaps sparked, at the margin, by a lift in a Chinese manufacturing survey -- a lift certainly doesn’t hurt but that indicator is minor.

Moreover, most of the other data out was neutral at best. Jobless claims, for instance, rose from 298,000 to 326,000 in the week to May 17. It’s a rise -- a rise in new claims is bad -- but then again claims are low, and this is good.

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