Snapshot: Stocks rally on hopeful reports

Stocks extended their rally amid encouraging news about the economy. The Conference Board’s gauge of future economic activity rose more than analysts expected, as did the University of Michigan’s preliminary survey of consumer confidence, adding to evidence of a steady recovery. The market is also being supported by ongoing stimulus from the Fed, which is keeping long-term borrowing costs low. Gold fell for a seventh straight day and is down almost 20 percent this year and has fallen out of favor as an alternative investment as markets have surged. J.C. Penney fell after the retailer reported a loss worse than already dismal estimates.