US stocks veer broadly higher, adding to big prior-day gains

Associated Press

U.S. stocks moved broadly higher this afternoon after shaking off a stretch of wobbly trading earlier in the day.

Banks, industrial companies, retailers, restaurant chains and other consumer-focused stocks contributed most to the market's upturn. The latest gains came a day after a powerful rally gave the market its best day in more than two years.

The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose 13 points, or 0.5 percent, to 2,672 as of 12:07 p.m. Eastern Time. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 216 points, or 0.9 percent, to 24,418. It jumped 669 points a day earlier. The Nasdaq added 12 points, or 0.2 percent, to 7,232. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks slid less than 1 point to 1,543.

The indexes were coming off their best day in more than two years as investors grew increasingly confident that a trade war between the U.S. and China could be averted. The market is still in the process of clawing back the huge losses it sustained last week.

The Conference Board said its consumer confidence index slipped to 127.7 this month, down from 130 in February, which was the highest reading since November 2000. The business research group's index measures consumers' assessment of current conditions and their outlook for the next six months. Separately, the latest Standard & Poor's CoreLogic Case-Shiller national home price index shows prices jumped 6.2 percent in January from a year earlier, pushed higher by a persistent shortage of homes for sale.

U.S.-listed shares of British drugmaker GlaxoSmithKline rose 2.8 percent after the company agreed to buy out its Swiss partner Novartis in their consumer health joint venture for $13 billion in cash. GlaxoSmithKline gained $1.04 to $38.47.

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