Stocks Climb Higher on Economic Outlook
NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- U.S. stocks climbed higher, with the S&P 500 closing less than 2 points from its all-time high, Tuesday after a jump in U.S. durable goods orders and home prices bolstered the outlook for the world's largest economy.
Not even a tepid report from the Conference Board could slow the market. The board's Consumer Confidence Index fell more than expected to 59.7 in March from 69 in February; economists expected a dip to 68 this month.
The S&P 500 was rising 0.7% to 1,562.95. The index reached an all-time high of 1,565 in October 2007.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average increased 0.77% to 14,559.65. The Nasdaq climbed 0.53% to 3,252.48.
The Census Bureau reported that durable goods orders rose 5.7% in February after falling by an upwardly revised 3.8% in January; economists were looking for durable goods orders to rise 3.8% in February. Commercial aircraft orders rose, pointing to an uptrend in manufacturing activity and capital spending.
"The guts of the report seem sufficiently strong to buoy the stock market in the face of a fragile situation on the continent," Andrew Wilkinson, the New York City-based chief economic strategist at Miller Tabak & Co. said in a note. There's "little evidence arguing against a still robust economic recovery in the world's largest economy," he added.
The S&P/Case-Shiller 20-city home price index showed a year-on-year increase of 8.1% in January, making it the best read on this indicator since the start of the housing downturn in mid-2006 and exceeding expectations for a 7.9% rise, after advancing 6.8% in December, confirming the positive outlook for home prices this year that for homeowners may offset the pain of higher payroll taxes.
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