- Consumer confidence beats forecasts
- Housing data comes in mixed
- Carnival breaks even in Q1
- Disney gains on Makers Studio buy
Dow Jones: 0.67%
S&P 500: 0.68%
US stocks advanced on Tuesday despite mixed economic figures from the housing market as data showed a larger-than-expected rise in consumer confidence.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average and S&P 500
both gained 0.7% in early trading, while the Nasdaq jumped 1.1%.
Investors were also reacting to comments from Charles Plosser, head of the Philadelphia Federal Reserve Bank, who threw his weight behind remarks from Fed Chair Janet Yellen who last week sparked an equity sell-off with her guidance for interest rates.
Plosser said that Yellen's guidance for the first rate hike coming around six months after quantitative easing ends "wasn't a wildly unexpected timeframe". He said that the risk of stock market volatility could be one of the "unintended consequences" of Fed policy as it ends its stimulus programme.
The Fed member also said he expects short-term interest rates to rise to 3% by the end of 2015 and reach 4% by the end of 2016, but noted that his forecasts were higher than most of his colleagues.
Housing data mixed, consumer confidence
New home sales in the States fell by 3.3% to an annual rate of 440,000 in February, a five-month low, retreating from a one-year high of 455,000 in January. The consensus estimate was for a smaller decline to 445,000.
The S&P/Case-Shiller composite house price index of 20 major US cities rose by 0.85% in January, up from a 0.74% gain in December and ahead of the consensus forecast for an increase of 0.6%. The 13.2% annual growth, however, came in slightly below expectations.
The FHFA's own home price index for January increased at a month-on-month rate of 0.5%, down from 0.7% previously and below estimates.
Meanwhile, the US consumer confidence index jumped from a revised 78.3 to 82.3 in March, well ahead of the consensus estimate of 78.5.
Carnival drops after flat Q1
Cruise operator Carnival dropped after saying it broke even in the first quarter, posting earnings per share of 0 cents, compared with 8.0 cents the year before. Net revenue yields declined by 2.1%, though this was better than the company guidance for a 3-4% decline.
Walt Disney advanced after the media and entertainment company agreed to buy Maker Studios for at least $500m. This consideration could rise by a further $450m if certain operating goals are met.
Semiconductor maker Himax Technologies sunk after Bank of America Merrill Lynch cut its rating on the stock to 'underperform'.