Closing Bell: Stocks Continue Rally on Upbeat Economic News
Markets extend rally: Following Monday's rise, stocks kept their upward momentum going Tuesday. Market were buoyed by two positive economic reports, showing a pick up in the number of housing starts and low consumer inflation. The Dow industrials (^DJI) jumped 139 points to close just below 15,320. The Nasdaq (^IXIC) gained 31 points, and the S&P 500 (^GSPC) added 13.
Today's top stories:
The consumer price index in May rose just 0.1 percent -- a tenth of a percent lower than analyst forecasts -- after excluding volatile food and energy costs. Housing starts for the month rose 6.8 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 914,000 -- less than than the 11.4 percent rise analysts had forecast, but still healthy.
Investors also reacted to news that Sprint Nextel (S) is suing both Dish Network (DISH) and Clearwire (CLWR) to block a planned merger. Shares of Clearwire fell 1.3 percent, while Sprint and Dish both rose.
The rise in stocks came ahead of the conclusion Wednesday of a two-day meeting by Federal Reserve officials on how much longer the Fed will maintain its aggressive bond-buying program and record low interest rates.
In addition to the conclusion of the Fed meeting, items on the economic calendar to watch Wednesday include weekly reports on the number of new mortgage applications from the Mortgage Bankers' Association and crude-oil inventories from the Energy Information Administration.
On the earnings front, FedEx (FDX) is set to report earnings before U.S. markets open Wednesday. Analysts expect FedEx to report slightly lower profits but higher revenue. The company recently has seen a slump in high-end express-delivery services as businesses and consumers save money by switching to cheaper but slower shipping options. Analysts forecast that FedEx earned $1.96 a share in its fiscal fourth quarter on revenue of $11.46 billion, according to a FactSet survey.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.