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The markets zipped higher Tuesday as strong data and dovish commentary from global central banks bolstered traders' confidence in the economy.
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As of 3:15 p.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed 118 points, or 0.81%, to 14778, the S&P 500 gained 16 points, or 1%, to 1589 and the Nasdaq Composite rose 24.4 points, or 0.74%, to 3345.
The markets have taken a pounding in recent weeks, with the Dow and S&P 500 selling off to their lowest levels since April 22 on Monday. Still, both market barometers are up more than 10% for the year. The latest leg lower has been driven by continued fears about an end to the Federal Reserve's massive bond-buying program and new concerns about a credit crunch in China.
"It seems that the rush for the exits has come to a halt for now, but, like the proverbial parrot, this bout of risk aversion may not be dead, but just resting," said Rupert Osborne, a futures dealer at IG in London. "It is still a struggle to work out the real outlook for markets, since the dust kicked up by last week’s Fed meeting will take weeks to settle."
Commentary suggesting central bankers won't be ending the easy-money policies too soon helped sooth investors' nerves on the day. In particular, The Wall Street Journal reported a People's Bank of China official as saying the country's central bank will guide interest rates in a "reasonable range."
Several Fed members also suggested asset purchases won't be ending too soon.
Several economic reports also helped lighten Wall Street's mood.
The Commerce Department said orders for long-lasting goods jumped 3.6% in May from April, topping expectations of a 3% gain. Excluding the transportation segment, orders rose 0.7% compared to expectations it would hold steady.
The S&P/Case-Shiller report showed home prices in 20 major U.S. metropolitan areas climbed 2.5% in April from March, on a non-seasonally adjusted basis, topping expectations of a 1.1% gain. Prices were up 12.1% from the year prior, beating forecasts of a 10.6% jump. The report is a lagging indicator but is seen as a critical gauge of activity in the U.S. housing sector.
Another important housing report slated for release at 10:00 a.m. ET is expected to show sales of new, single-family homes having increased to an annual pace of 462,000 units in May from 454,000 the month before.
A separate report from Commerce showed sales of new, single-family homes rose 2.1% in May from April to an annual rate of 476,000 units. Wall Street expected sales to come in at an annual rate of 462,000 units. The reading was the highest since July 2008.
Meanwhile, the Conference Board's gauge of consumer confidence rose to 81.4 in June from 74.3 in May – beating estimates of 75.4.
On the corporate front, Walgreen (NYSE:WAG) revealed quarterly profits and sales that missed Wall Street's expectations. Lennar (NYSE:LEN), the homebuilder, posted results that topped analysts' forecasts.
Meanwhile, Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) was dealt a victory, with an adviser to the European Union's top court saying the search giant doesn't need to remove sensitive results from its search engine.
Commodities were broadly higher. Gold climbed $8.10, or 0.63%, to $1,285 a troy ounce. Oil was up 46 cents, or 0.49%, to $95.65 a barrel. Wholesale New York Harbor gasoline climbed 0.49% to $2.751 a gallon. In Treasury markets, the benchmark 10-year yield fell 0.034 percentage point to 2.505%.
The Euro Stoxx 50 rallied 1.4% to 2545, the English FTSE 100 jumped 0.93% to 6085 and the German DAX soared 1.6% to 6085.
In Asia, the Japanese Nikkei 225 slumped 0.72% to 12969 and the Chinese Hang Seng edged up 0.21% to 19856.