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U.S. Stocks Edge Higher

Tuesday, March 26, 2013 9:44 AM
U.S. stocks edged higher in early trading as investors cheered better than expected housing market and durable goods data. At last check, the Dow Jones Industrial Average Index gained 0.43%; the NASDAQ Composite Index edged up 0.43%while the S&P 500 Index also advanced 0.43%. A data provided by the Commerce Department showed that durable goods orders rose 5.7% in February, beating economists’ consensus forecast for 3.8% increase. The latest data showed that demand for transportation equipment improved significantly.  Excluding transportation equipments, durable orders fell 0.5 percent after rising 2.9 percent in January. Economists polled by Reuters were expecting a 0.5 percent rising durable goods orders (excluding transporting equipments) . The S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Index, a monthly gauge on home prices at 20 metropolitan areas, rose 1% in January against economists’ expectation for 0.9% gain. The Index climbed 8.1%, Year-on-year. Just before the quarterly earnings release, Stifel Nicolaus upgraded shares of Mattress Firm Holding Corp. (NASDAQ: MFRM) to “buy” rating from “hold” rating. Shares of Children's Place Retail Stores Inc. (NASDAQ:PLCE) fell in early trading after the apparel and accessories retailer provide pessimistic guidance on the current quarter and full-year. European equities were marginally higher with Pan European Stoxx 600 Index up 0.03%, FTSE advancing 0.08% while DAX gaining 0.14%. Market sentiment took a beating on Monday when Eurogroup head and the Netherland’s finance minister; Jeroen Dijsselbloem indicated that Cyprus bailout agreement (which demanded heavy taxes on bank depositors) would serve as model for other euro zone rescues, triggering concerns of possible bank runs. However, the finance minister’s office latter retracted the statement, saying that it was (Cyprus bailout) was a “specific case”.    
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