Industrial Saccharomyces cerevisiae strains able to utilize xylose have been constructed by overexpression of XYL1 and XYL2 genes encoding the NADPH-preferring xylose reductase (XR) and the NAD(+)-dependent xylitol dehydrogenase (XDH), respectively, from Pichia stipitis. However, the use of different co-factors by XR and XDH leads to NAD(+) deficiency followed by xylitol excretion and reduced product yield. The furaldehydes 5-hydroxymethyl-furfural (HMF) and furfural inhibit yeast metabolism, prolong the lag phase, and reduce the ethanol productivity. Recently, genes encoding furaldehyde reductases were identified and their overexpression was shown to improve S. cerevisiae growth and fermentation rate in HMF containing media and in lignocellulosic hydrolysate. In the current study, we constructed a xylose-consuming S. cerevisiae strain using the XR/XDH pathway from P. stipitis. Then, the genes encoding the NADH- and the NADPH-dependent HMF reductases, ADH1-S110P-Y295C and ADH6, respectively, were individually overexpressed in this background. The performance of these strains, which differed in their co-factor usage for HMF reduction, was evaluated under anaerobic conditions in batch fermentation in absence or in presence of HMF. In anaerobic continuous culture, carbon fluxes were obtained for simultaneous xylose consumption and HMF reduction. Our results show that the co-factor used for HMF reduction primarily influenced formation of products other than ethanol, and that NADH-dependent HMF reduction influenced product formation more than NADPH-dependent HMF reduction. In particular, NADH-dependent HMF reduction contributed to carbon conservation so that biomass was produced at the expense of xylitol and glycerol formation.