After some swings, stocks ended up for the day.
First the scoreboard:
Dow: 13,900, +115.9 pts, +0.8 percent
S&P 500: 1,496, +9.0 pts, +0.6 percent
NASDAQ: 3,129, +13.4 pts, +0.4 percent
And now the top stories:
- Stocks staged a nice rally today in the wake of some good economic news.
- According to Case-Shiller, U.S. home prices jumped 6.84 percent year-over-year in December. This was slightly above the 6.62 percent gain economists were looking for. Of the twenty cities tracked by Case-Shiller, only New York City saw a decline.
- New home sales crushed expectations and surged 15.6 percent in January. Economists were looking for a modest 3.0 percent gain. New home supply also fell to a multi-year low of 4.1 percent. However, Bank of America Merrill Lynch economist Michelle Meyer warned us that these monthly numbers can be quite volatile. "We could see a revision or a partial payback in coming months," she said.
- Consumer confidence, as measured by the Conference Board, surged to 69.6 in February, up from 58.4 in January. "Consumer Confidence rebounded in February as the shock effect caused by the fiscal cliff uncertainty and payroll tax cuts appears to have abated," said Lynn Franco of the Conference Board.
- The big event of the day was without a doubt Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke's testimony to the Senate Banking Committee. Bernanke continued to defend ultra-easy monetary policy, as many expected.
- But things got heated during the Q&A. Senator Bob Corker prefaced a question about perception by talking about regulatory capture, suggesting that the Fed was in the pockets of the banks. "None of the things you've said is accurate," said Bernanke at one point. Click Here For The Transcript >
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