US stocks rise on upbeat data, Apple bond sale

NEW YORK (AFP) - US stocks rose on Tuesday amid solid data on housing and consumer confidence and as reports of a US$17 billion (S$20.9 billion) Apple bond sale cheered investors.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 21.05 (0.14 per cent) to 14,839.80 The broad-based S&P 500 picked up 3.96 (0.25 per cent) at 1,597.57, a new all-time closing high. The tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index added 21.77 (0.66 per cent) at 3,328.79.

The monthly Case-Shiller index of city housing prices showed that prices rose a seasonally adjusted 1.2 per cent in the 20 biggest urban markets, a fresh sign of recovery in the housing market.

Investors were also heartened by a robust rise in the Conference Baord's consumer confidence index in April, to 68.1 points from a revised 61.9 in March.

Apple's reported US$17 billion bond offering, one of the largest ever for a US company, generated heavy buying interest. Shares in Apple, the biggest tech company, gained 2.9 per cent.

One reason the market gains were not more pronounced is the week's heavy economic calender, said Steven Rosen, head of equity volatility trading at Societe Generale.

Both the Federal Reserve and the European Central Bank meet this week. The US Labor Department releases the monthly jobs report Friday.

"There's too much news coming out later in the week for there to be big moves now," Rosen said.

Dow member Pfizer sank 4.5 per cent after reporting a 9.0 per cent decline in year-over-year revenues as some key drugs shifted to generic status. The company also trimmed its 2013 profit guidance.

Sirius XM Radio rose 5.9 per cent after announcing more than 450,000 new subscribers and record revenues. The company also said acting chief executive James Meyer had been appointed CEO.

Health insurer Aetna gained 2.3 per cent after it reported higher membership and bumped up its 2013 operating earnings forecast.

Electronics retailer Best Buy soared 7.4 per cent after announcing the sale of its joint stake in Best Buy Europe to partner Carphone Warehouse.

Gold and copper producer Newmont Mining fell 4.6 per cent after reporting lower production in the first quarter. Gold output fell more than 13 percent from the same period last year.

Bond prices were narrowly mixed. The yield on the 10-year Treasury held flat at 1.67 per cent, the same level as late Monday, while the yield on the 30-year bond rose to 2.88 per cent from 2.87 per cent. Bond prices and yields move inversely.