US stocks push higher despite lacklustre data

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, March 26, 2019.
Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, March 26, 2019. PHOTO: REUTERS

NEW YORK (AFP) - Wall Street stocks shook off lacklustre housing and consumer data on Tuesday (March 26) to close higher, with energy and pharmaceutical shares among the leaders.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished the session at 25,657.73, a gain of 0.55 per cent.

The broad-based S&P 500 and the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index each gained a little over 0.7 per cent, to settle at 2,818.46 and 7,691.52, respectively.

Economic data on consumer confidence and home construction released early in the day were weak, which briefly sent stock prices lower, but the trend did not hold.

Karl Haeling of LBBW said investors had been reassured by reports in recent days saying the growth fears are exaggerated, which may have prompted investors to come off the sidelines to buy equities following a rout late last week.

"It's just a little bit of a calming down after the panic attack Friday," he said.

Apple fell slipped more than 1 per cent after an International Trade Commission judge ruled the company violated a patent held by chipmaker Qualcomm and said recommended banning imports of some iPhone models. Qualcomm jumped 2.4 per cent.

Biogen rose nearly 6 per cent after announcing a US$5 billion (S$6.7 billion) share buyback.

Carnival sank 8.7 per cent on disappointment over the company's forecast for the upcoming quarter. The company said higher fuel prices and foreign exchange pressures led to it lowering its full-year profit projection.

Bed Bath & Beyond surged 22 per cent on reports that a group of activist investors are mobilizing to try to replace the company's 12-person board.