March 23rd, 2010
05:35 PM ET

Stocks rally on better-than-expected housing report

A look at highlights from the day's business news:

Stocks surge to 18-month highs

Stocks rallied Tuesday, with the Dow, Nasdaq and S&P 500 ending at new 18-month highs following the release of a better-than-expected existing home sales report that suggests a slow economic rebound.

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 103 points, or 1 percent, according to early tallies, ending at 10,888.83, the highest close since 11,143.13 on September 26, 2008.

The S&P 500 index gained 8 points, or 0.7 percent, and ended at 1,174.17, its highest close since 1,213.09 on September 26, 2008.

The Nasdaq composite rose 20 points, or 0.8 percent, ending at 2,415.24, its highest close since 2,416.98 on August 18, 2008.

Dollar gains on Greece concerns

The dollar gained Tuesday as investors worried that an agreement on a rescue package for Greece would not be reached at this week's European Union summit.

What prices are doing: The dollar rose 0.4 percent versus the euro to $1.3506 and climbed 0.37 percent against the British pound to $1.5044. Against the Japanese yen, the dollar edged up 0.26% to ¥90.37.

On Monday, the dollar pared earlier gains as stocks rebounded following the House vote to approve health care reform.

What's moving the market: The euro slipped against the dollar in earlier trading following reports that European Central Bank President Jean-Claude Trichet said he opposed offering Greece low interest loans and German Chancellor Angela Merkel said investors shouldn't expect this week's summit to result in an aid package for Greece.

Treasurys fall after auction

Treasurys fell after a government auction of $44 billion in 2-year notes Tuesday, the first of three auctions totaling $118 billion this week.

What prices are doing: After the auction, the 2-year note was flat, but other Treasurys fell. The 2-year closed at 99-26/32 with a yield of 0.99 percent. The 5-year note fell 2/32 to 99-25/32 and its yield rose to 2.42 percent. Bond prices and yields move in opposite directions.

The benchmark 10-year note fell 8/32 to 99-16/32 and its yield rose yield of 3.69 percent. The 30-year bond fell 17/32 to 100-10/32 with a yield of 4.60 percent.       

What's moving the market: In the first auction of the week, investors submitted bids totaling nearly $131.6 billion for $44 billion worth of 2-year notes.

Oil edges higher

Oil prices showed modest gains Tuesday as the latest news on the housing market helped bolster the stock market and boosted demand for oil.

What prices are doing: Crude for May delivery closed up 31 cents to $81.91 a barrel.       

What's moving the market: Prices inched higher after a report on existing home sales helped push the stock market to new 18-month highs. reporters Alexandra Twin, Blake Ellis, Annalyn Censky and Chavon Sutton contributed to this report.

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