Tuesday, February 27, 2024
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US stocks end higher for second day on housing data, Putin words

U.S. stocks rose on Tuesday, extending the prior day's jump, after upbeat data on the U.S. economy and after Vladimir Putin said Russia was not looking to divide Ukraine.

"Data points are still pointing in the same direction; the housing starts were a nice step up from January," said Chip Cobb, portfolio manager, BMT Asset Management, Bryn Mawr, Penn.

The Department of Commerce on Tuesday reported housing starts in February were down 0.2 percent from January and off 6.4 percent from the year-ago month, while a rebound in building permits offered hope for the housing market emerging from a soft patch.

Addressing the Russian parliament, Putin said Russia was not looking to take control of more of Ukraine after approving a plan to make Crimea a part of Russia after a referendum viewed as illegal by the United States and the European Union, which imposed sanctions on officials accused of taking part in Russia's military takeover of the Black Sea peninsula.

"Whether Putin is going to keep pressing hard on this thing or not, I think the market is starting to look away from that. What we don't want is to head into some type of crazy, Cold-War type of conversation," Cobb said.

Major U.S. Indexes

After a 122-point climb, the Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 88.97 points, or 0.6 percent, to 16,336.19, with Microsoft leading blue-chip gains after reports its CEO would unveil soon a version of Office for the iPad.

Health care paced sector gains and utilities were the poorest performing among the 10 major sectors on the , which came within 5 points of its March 7 record close, and ended up 13.42 points, or 0.7 percent, to 1,872.25.

GameStop shares fell after Wal-Mart Stores said it planned to broaden its video-game trade-in program to its stores.

The Nasdaq rose 53.36 points, or 1.3 percent, to 4,333.31.

The CBOE Volatility Index (VIX), a measure of investor uncertainty, fell 7.2 percent to 14.52.

For every share that fell, more than three gained on the New York Stock Exchange, where nearly 586 million shares traded. Composite volume cleared 2.9 billion.

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