Although stocks shaved their gains, they still ended in positive territory across the board Tuesday strengthened by supportive comments from central banks and upbeat economic data. “If you believe in calendar folklore, the day after a three-day weekend has a bias to the upside and the final week of the month has a bias to the upside and it’s terrific Tuesday again,” noted Art Cashin, director of floor operations at UBS Financial Services. Cashin also noted that trading volume has been on the lighter side.
Austerity measures haven’t impacted the housing market, as housing prices accelerated to their highest level (rising 10.9 points) in nearly seven years in March. Data suggests that the housing sector has been performing better than the overall economy due to inventory tightening, foreclosures easing and historically low mortgage rates attracting buyers. “Low inventories and gradually improving housing demand have combined to push housing starts higher and support home price appreciation,” said Michael Gapen, an economist at Barclays in New York.
Consumer confidence has soared to its highest level in more than five years, suggesting Americans’ resiliency in the midst of Washington’s belt-tightening. The Conference Board, an industry group, said its index of consumer attitudes jumped to 76.2 from a revised 69 in April, which beat economists’ predictions of 71. “Back-to-back monthly gains suggest that consumer confidence is on the mend and may be regaining the traction it lost due to the fiscal cliff, payroll tax hike and sequester,” Lynn Franco, director of economic indicators at The Conference Board, said in a statement.