Markets ended higher on Tuesday after better-than-expected
consumer confidence data boosted investor sentiment. Bio-tech
stocks also helped to end the two-day losing streak. The
positives offset any negative concerns emerging from data
suggesting a drop in sales of new single-family houses in
February and a fall in U.S. home prices in January. Meanwhile,
investors continued to monitor the latest developments in Crimea.
For a look at the issues currently facing the markets, make sure
to read today's
Ahead of Wall Street
The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) gained 0.6% to close
Tuesday's trading session at 16,367.88. The Standard & Poor
(S&P 500) rose 0.4% to finish at 1,865.62. The tech-laden
Nasdaq Composite Index went up 0.2% to 4,234.27. The fear-gauge
CBOE Volatility Index (VIX) dropped almost 7.2% to settle at
14.52. Total volume on the New York Stock Exchange was 3.2
billion shares. Declining stocks were outnumbered by advancing
stocks on the NYSE. For 40% stocks that declined, 57% advanced.
Markets were positively impacted after the Consumer Confidence
Index hit the highest level since January 2008. The Conference
Board reported the index had increased from 78.3 in February to
82.3 in March. The rise was larger-than-expected as the consensus
estimate predicted it would drop to 78.2. The Expectations Index
went up from 76.5 to 83.5. Consumer' expectations rebounded in
March after it fell in February. However, consumers' expectations
about income growth declined from 15.8% to 14.9%.
Tuesday's other economic data had little effect on the markets.
According to the US Department of Commerce, sales of new family
single houses for the month of February came in at 440,000. This
is 3.3% less than previous month's reading of 455,000. This fall
in sales of new homes in US was more than the consensus estimate
of a fall to 446,000. Harsh winter weather, higher mortgage rates
and rise in home prices were cited to be the reasons for the drop
in sales of new single-family houses in February.
Last week's data on existing home sales was also not encouraging.
Existing home sales data released by National Association of
Realtors fell 0.4% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.60
million in February from 4.62 million in January.
U.S. home prices fell in January after the
S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices revealed that its 20-City
composite index slipped 0.1% in January from December. The
20-City composite index registered its third consecutive monthly
decline after severe winter weather was cited to be the reason
for its fall. The report also states that the 20-City composite
index of the S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices improved
13.2% year on year. However, the SPDR S&P Homebuilders ETF
(XHB) gained 0.3%. The top two holdings from the sector USG
) and DR Horton Inc. (NYSE:
) advanced 1.5% and 0.9%, respectively.
Benchmarks also got a boost from the Health Care sector after
bio-tech stocks snapped its two-day losing streak. The Health
Care Select Sector SPDR (XLV) gained 0.9%. Top holdings from the
sector The Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:
), Pfizer Inc. (NYSE:
), Merck & Co. Inc. (NYSE:
) and Gilead Sciences Inc. (NASDAQ:
) gained 2.3%, 1.1%, 2.6% and 1.3%, respectively.
Investors kept an eye on the latest developments in the Crimea
region. On Tuesday, Western leaders met with their Russian
counterparts. Moscow's and Kiev's foreign ministers also held
meetings. The positive outcome of this meeting improved investor
sentiment. The Obama administration is not likely to impose
further economic sanctions provided Russia goes beyond the
annexation of Crimea.
Eight out of ten sectors of the S&P 500 ended in the
green. The Industrial Select Sector SPDR (XLI) and the Energy
Select Sector SPDR (XLE) led the gains as both the sectors
increased 0.9%. Key stocks from the Industrials sector such as
General Electric Company (NYSE:
), United Technologies Corp. (NYSE:
), The Boeing Company (NYSE:
), 3M Company (NYSE:
) and Honeywell International Inc. (NYSE:
) rose 1.1%, 1.3%, 0.5%, 1.2% and 0.5%, respectively.
Major holdings from the Energy sector such as Exxon Mobil
), Chevron Corporation (NYSE:
), Schlumberger Limited (NYSE:
), Occidental Petroleum Corporation (NYSE:
) and EOG Resources, Inc. (NYSE:
) advanced 0.3%, 1.1%, 2.5%, 0.8% and 1%, respectively.
BOEING CO (BA): Free Stock Analysis Report
CHEVRON CORP (CVX): Free Stock Analysis
D R HORTON INC (DHI): Free Stock Analysis
EOG RES INC (EOG): Free Stock Analysis Report
GENL ELECTRIC (GE): Free Stock Analysis
GILEAD SCIENCES (GILD): Free Stock Analysis
HONEYWELL INTL (HON): Free Stock Analysis
JOHNSON & JOHNS (JNJ): Free Stock Analysis
3M CO (MMM): Free Stock Analysis Report
MERCK & CO INC (MRK): Free Stock Analysis
OCCIDENTAL PET (OXY): Free Stock Analysis
PFIZER INC (PFE): Free Stock Analysis Report
SCHLUMBERGER LT (SLB): Free Stock Analysis
USG CORP (USG): Free Stock Analysis Report
UTD TECHS CORP (UTX): Free Stock Analysis
EXXON MOBIL CRP (XOM): Free Stock Analysis
To read this article on Zacks.com click here.