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The S&P 500 was up 0.6% in midday trading to 2,711.06.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.3% to 24,894.58.

The Nasdaq climbed 0.8% to 7,063.25.

The yield on a 10-year Treasury bond fell 0.9% to 2.44%.

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The price of gold ticked up 0.1% to $1,318.


Edwards Lifesciences Corp. (NYSE: EW) in Irvine was up 2.5% to $114.32 and a $24.2 billion market cap. Evercore ISI initiated coverage on the heart valve maker with an “outperform” rating and $140 price target, contra yesterday’s downgrade by JP Morgan. Evercore said the growth outlook remains solid for Edwards’ core products used for transcatheter aortic valve replacement, or TAVR.


OC-based developers and home builders were up on moderately positive pending-home sales news and the expectation that the Federal Reserve will steadily raise interest rates through 2018; minutes from the Fed's Dec. 12-13 meeting were released today.

CalAtlantic Group Inc. (NYSE: CAA) in Irvine was up 3.3% to $59.83 and a $6.6 billion market cap.

Tri Pointe Group Inc. (NYSE: TPH) in Irvine was up 4.5% to 18.87 and a $2.8 billion market cap.

Five Point Holdings LLC (NYSE: FPH) was up 3.6% to $14.58 and a $2.1 billion market cap.

William Lyon Homes (NYSE: WLH) in Newport Beach was up 5.6% to $32.21 and a $1.4 billion market cap.

New Home Co. Inc. (NYSE: NWHM) in Aliso Viejo was up 1.8% to $13.29 and a $278 million market cap.


BJ's Restaurants Inc. (Nasdaq: BJRI) in Huntington Beach was up 8.2% to $39.78 and an $821 million market cap. Stifel upgraded the casual dining chain to "buy" from "hold" and increased its price target to $44 from $32. Stifel, which initiated coverage on BJ's in October, expects increased same store sales this year.