U.S. stocks' gains build on housing data
This update corrects the title for John De Clue at U.S. Bank Wealth Management.
NEW YORK (MarketWatch) -- U.S. stocks rose Tuesday, with consumer-discretionary and energy companies gaining on signs of stabilization in housing, but investors remained wary ahead of a summit of European leaders.
"Housing is bucking the trend, and that speaks to better confidence among consumers. Home builders and energy are getting a bounce on the idea household demand for gasoline may not be as weak," said Jeffrey Kleintop, chief market strategist at LPL Financial.
"We'd like to be more optimistic, but we're not expecting anything definitive out of this, which is a problem," John De Clue, chief international strategist at U.S. Bank Wealth Management, said of a gathering of European leaders. "The pattern has been interesting ideas are put forth, but then in peeling the onion, they are difficult to institute in reality."
The S&P 500 Index (SPX) added 6.27 points, or 0.5%, to 1,319.99, with consumer discretionary and energy companies faring best among its 10 industry groups.
The Nasdaq Composite (COMP) climbed 17.90 points, or 0.6%, to 2,854.06.
For every share falling more than two gained on the New York Stock Exchange, where 712 million shares traded. Composite volume neared 3.4 billion.
U.S. home prices rose 1.3% in April, their first monthly gain since last autumn, S&P/Case-Shiller data showed. Read more about home prices.
A report that had consumer confidence in June falling for a fourth straight month illustrates "a lull here in the economy," said Andrew Fitzpatrick, director of investments at Hinsdale Associates. Read more about consumer sentiment.
"People sure don't feel very confident," said LPL's Kleintop. But the Conference Board's index, which hit 62 last month, "is still above average and better than we saw around this time last year."
In fact, the week now under way marks the beginning of a six week period that has been the best for equities in each quarter of recent years, added Kleintop.
Investors remained wary ahead of a gathering of European leaders later in the week, with Germany offering a tepid response to a road map released by European Union officials outlining a plan to tighter fiscal integration.
Spanish and Italian bonds declined and the euro softened as those nations' borrowing costs rose at debt auctions. Egan-Jones cut Germany's sovereign rating to A+ from AA-.
Markets were briefly rattled after Reuters reported German Chancellor Angela Merkel told politicians in her ruling coalition that Europe would not have shared total debt liability "as long as I live."
"The market really doesn't know what to make of this. We've seen summits in the past that haven't produced much, so the bar has been lowered," said Andrew Fitzpatrick, director of investments at Hinsdale Associates, of expectations ahead of a two-day gathering that starts Thursday in Brussels.
Merkel on Monday had played down large moves such as the issuance of common debt until euro-area countries agree to broad oversight of their budgets.
Greece on Tuesday named an economics professor to replace the finance minister who resigned Monday after less than a week on the job.