Stocks held onto gains through the morning session thanks to a number of positive earnings reports. Consumer electronics retailer Best Buy (BBY) and real-estate company Toll Brothers (TOL) both rallied on impressive quarters. New home sales in the U.S. hit a nearly eight-year high in July as strong demand and positive momentum in construction activity benefited the sector. New home sales have risen for five straight months. Agricultural company Monsanto (MON) rose on reports its discussions with Bayer (BAYRY) were advancing toward a deal. Negotiations over a purchase price and termination fee have progressed closer to agreement. Canaccord initiated coverage of Chipotle (CMG) with a HOLD rating and $425 price target. Analysts said the recovery from its food-safety scare was taking longer than expected.
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