Stocks finished broadly higher on Wall Street Tuesday, erasing the market’s modest losses from a day earlier.
Financial, technology and healthcare stocks accounted for much of the rally. Banks got a boost from rising bond yields, which enable them to charge higher rates on loans.
Energy companies led the Standard & Poor’s 500 index higher as the price of U.S. crude oil moved briefly above $60 a barrel. Oil hasn’t closed above $60 a barrel since November.
Homebuilders slumped on new data showing the pace of newly started residential construction projects fell sharply last month.
Even after losing some of its early strength, the broad upward turn in stocks was a reversal for the market, which had started the week on a downbeat note after racking up losses last week as investors’ jitters over a global economic slowdown intensified. Those jitters and stock declines led to a troubling drop in long-term bond yields.
On Tuesday the yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note edged up to 2.42% from Monday’s 2.41%. However, it’s still below the yield on the three-month Treasury bill, which many see as a warning sign of a possible recession.
“A lot of today’s [stock-market] move has to do with the change in direction in the yield curve,” said Lindsey Bell, investment strategist at CFRA. “It just goes to show that we’re kind of in a period of indecisiveness in the market, where the market is grappling with what is obviously slowing growth around the globe and a little bit of uncertainty here in the U.S. about what growth is going to look like once we get past the seasonally weak first quarter.”
The S&P 500 index climbed 20.10 points, or 0.7%, to 2,818.46. The Dow Jones industrial average rose 140.90 points, or 0.6%, to 25,657.73.
The Nasdaq composite climbed 53.98 points, or 0.7%, to 7,691.52. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks advanced 15.30 points, or 1%, to 1,528.17.
Even with last week’s stumble, U.S. stocks remain on track to finish the quarter, which ends this week, with solid gains. The benchmark S&P 500 index is up more than 12% so far in 2019, an unusually strong start to a year.
Still, uncertainty remains over how the United States and China will resolve their costly trade dispute and how a slowing global economy will affect corporate profits as companies begin to report first-quarter results next month.
“We have a lack of catalysts right now before we get into earnings season,” Bell said. “The market is going to be a little bit erratic until we get clarity on the direction of earnings, the direction of the trade deal, the direction of Brexit, all these major uncertainties out there.”
Concerns about the global economy have held back stocks recently, but traders mostly shrugged off two disappointing bellwether reports on the U.S. economy Tuesday.
The Conference Board, a business research group, said its consumer confidence index fell to 124.1 in March from 131.4 in February. And the Commerce Department said the number of homes under construction fell 8.7% last month as groundbreakings for single-family houses declined to their lowest level in nearly two years.
The housing starts data weighed on most homebuilder stocks. Beazer Homes USA slid 1.1%.
Bed Bath & Beyond soared 22% in very heavy trading after the Wall Street Journal reported that activist investors are targeting the troubled retailer.
Qualcomm climbed 2.4% after a U.S. trade judge recommended banning some iPhones from being imported into the United States. The judge concluded that Apple’s bestselling device infringed on technology owned by the mobile chipmaker. Apple fell 1%.
Carnival slumped 8.7% after the cruise line operator issued quarterly results that fell short of Wall Street’s forecasts. The company also issued a weaker-than-expected second-quarter earnings outlook.
Benchmark U.S. crude climbed 1.9% to settle at $59.94 a barrel. Brent crude, used to price international oils, rose 0.3% to $67.97 a barrel.
The pickup in oil prices helped boost energy stocks. Anadarko Petroleum rose 3.1%.
Wholesale gasoline rose 0.9% to $1.96 a gallon. Heating oil rose 0.5% to $1.99 a gallon. Natural gas fell 0.5% to $2.74 per 1,000 cubic feet.
Gold lost 0.6% to $1,315 an ounce. Silver fell 0.9% to $15.43 an ounce. Copper slipped 0.1% to $2.85 a pound.