HOUSING BOOST: A report that showed housing starts climbed at the fastest pace since December 2008 made investors bullish about the economy and gave stocks an early boost. The Standard & Poor's 500 posted another five-year high.
BIG BANKS DISAPPOINT: The rally was held back by earnings reports from two of the country's biggest banks. Both Citigroup and Bank of America fell after disappointing the market with their fourth-quarter earnings reports.
BILLBOARD REIT: CBS surged after the media company said late Wednesday that it was converting its U.S. outdoor advertising business to a real estate investment trust and selling the international portion of the business. That prompted Deutsche Bank analysts to lift their target price on the stock.