U.S. stocks accelerated gains in late-afternoon trade Tuesday, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average poised to snap an eight-day skid with gusto, as investors welcomed better-than-expected economic data.
Drawing the most attention, was a reading of consumer confidence in March, which soared to the highest level in more than 16 years. Separately, U.S. house prices roared to their highest in nearly three years as demand remains brisk.
The Dow DJIA, +0.73% was up 172 points, or 0.8%, to 20,723, after notching its longest losing streak since 2011 on Monday. Financial names, Goldman Sachs Group GS, +1.65% and J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. JPM, +1.57% were among big blue-chip’s top gainers.
The robust consumer confidence data is “giving further confidence that earnings season—with expectations of 10% year-on-year growth—will hold up,” said James Abate, chief investment officer at Centre Asset Management LLC.
Even comments from Federal Reserve Vice Chairman Stanley Fischer that the central bank could hike rates two more times this year didn’t dampen the market’s buoyancy. Tighter monetary policy is often viewed as a sign of economic health.
Tuesday’s action follows a week of declines as investors questioned the ability of President Donald Trump’s administration and that of congressional Republicans to implement tax cuts and other fiscal-policy measures after the failure to bring controversial health-care legislation to a vote on the House floor.
Mark Kepner, managing director of sales and trading at Themis Trading. said the “markets have fared pretty well with a little consolidation going on,” despite the upheaval that could have occurred in the wake of the health-care bill being pulled.
Kent Engelke, chief economic strategist at Capitol Securities Management Inc., also down played the potential fallout from the health-care bill fiasco.
“I am not dismayed by the defeat of the repeal of Obamacare. The Establishment has declared Trump dead 2,914 times and he has come back,” he said.
Other analysts were less sanguine about the market’s ability to extend the postelection rally.
“The Trump setback on health-care reform will likely spell trouble for equities in the days ahead. A change in the delicate balance between hope and reality could take its toll on the overextended market,” said Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at First Standard Financial, in emailed notes.
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Economic data: The trade deficit in goods, excluding services, narrowed to $64.8 billion in February from $68.8 billion in January, though market reaction to data was muted.
The Case-Shiller January data showed home prices hit a 31-month high.
Check out: MarketWatch’s Economic Calendar
Stock movers: Shares in Darden Restaurants Inc. DRI, +9.30% rallied 8.2% after the Olive Garden parent reported earnings that topped expectations. Darden also said it plans to pay $780 million for a 165-restaurant Texas chain, Cheddar’s Scratch Kitchen.
Amazon.com Inc. AMZN, +1.08% traded 1.3% higher after the e-commerce giant said it’s acquiring Dubai-based Souq.com, placing one of its biggest global bets in recent years on the growing Middle Eastern online shopping market. The deal was reportedly worth around $700 million.
Ford Motor Co. F, +1.75% rose 2.4% after the car maker said it would invest $1.2 billion in three Michigan plants and create or retain 130 jobs. Earlier, Trump tweeted that the auto maker was close to making a big announcement related to U.S. job creation.
Other markets: Oil futures CLK7, +1.32% rose and European stocks SXXP, +0.61% closed higher, while Asian markets mostly gained. Gold futures GCJ7, -0.44% ended little-changed, and a key dollar index DXY, +0.49% strengthened.
–Victor Reklaitis contributed to this article.