Basic materials and industrials stocks pulled markets higher following earnings wins from DuPont (DD) and AK Steel (AKS) . The pace of earnings releases has picked up in recent days as Wall Street enters the thick of reporting season. Alibaba (BABA) was another earnings winner, topping top- and bottom-estimates in its third quarter. Digital media and entertainment revenue drove the bulk of growth with sales rocketing nearly 300% higher. Existing home sales in December fell, though closed out the best year in a decade. Sales of previously-owned homes sat at a nine-year high in November. Inventory continued to tighten in December, ending the month at its lowest since the turn of the century. Apple (AAPL) was downgraded to equal weight at Barclays. Analysts said there appears to be limited near-term upside in the company's earnings potential.
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