Wall Street managed to pick itself up off the mat thanks to an early-morning rally stoked by positive economic data and corporate earnings, then additional momentum after Ben Bernanke defended the Federal Reserve’s bond-buying stimulus program in front of Congress.
The S&P Case-Shiller home price index showed that home prices jumped 6.8% year-over-year in December. Meanwhile, the Conference Board’s index of consumer confidence increased in February.
At the end of the day, the Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 0.84% to close at 13,900.96, the S&P 500 rose 0.61% to 1,496.94 and the Nasdaq closed higher by 0.43% at 3,129.65.
Housing-related stocks naturally headed higher Tuesday. The SPDR S&P Homebuilders ETF (NYSE:XHB) gained nearly 3%, with strong single-stock performances coming from Hovnanian (NYSE:HOV, +11.4%), KB Home (NYSE:KBH, +7.2%) and PulteGroup (NYSE:PHM, +5.7%).
Home improvement retailer Home Depot (NYSE:HD) reported strong year-end results, showing a 7% gain in same-store sales for the fourth quarter. HD stock rose over 5% on the day to lead all Dow components. Sectormates Lumber Liquidators (NYSE:LL, +5.5%) and Lowe’s (NYSE:LOW, +2%) also headed higher.
Department store chain Macy’s (NYSE:M) rose just less than 3% after it announced net sales rose in the fourth quarter to $9.4 billion from a year earlier and that same-store sales rose 3.7% for the year, higher than its initial forecast of a 3.5% gain.
Electronics retailer RadioShack (NYSE:RSH) announced lower Q4 revenues and earnings and suggested it would have to close stores and take on more debt to fund operations. RSH shares initially dipped on the news, reversed to gains of more than 3%, then finally settled in at a fractional improvement.
- Cracker Barrel (NASDAQ:CBRL): up 8.7% ($5.80) to $72.75.
- R.R. Donnelley (NASDAQ:RRD): Up 6.3% (61 cents) to $10.37.
- Radian Group (NYSE:RDN): Up 3.4% (28 cents) to $8.43.
- Vivus (NASDAQ:VVUS): Down 12.3% ($1.52) to $10.89.
- First Solar (NASDAQ:FSLR): Down 4.2% ($1.38) to $31.36.
- Teradata (NYSE:TDC): Down 3.7% ($2.35) to $60.46.
Marc Bastow is an Assistant Editor at InvestorPlace.com. As of this writing, he did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities.