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Overnight Markets: US stocks gain on homebuilder data

Overnight Markets: US stocks gain on homebuilder data

Wall Street surged on Monday, with the Nasdaq closing at a 14-year high, amid increasing homebuilder confidence and hopes for receding tensions in Russia.

The Dow Jones industrial average jumped 176 points, or 1.06%, to close at 16,839. The S&P 500 rose 17 points, or 0.85%, to 1,972. The Nasdaq Composite added 43 points, or 0.97%, to close at 4,508, marking the first time since 31 March 2000 that the tech-heavy index closed above 4,500 points.

Homebuilders' shares gained after the NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index showed that homebuilder sentiment increased for the third straight month in August.

Housing sector surged, lifted by a rally in major homebuilders, including PulteGroup Inc, up 2.8%, and D.R. Horton Inc, up 1.4%.

Ambiguity lingered in Russia, where officials said yesterday that while all issues related to the country's humanitarian convoy to Ukraine had been resolved, progress had not been made on reaching a cease-fire.

However, investors' appetite for stocks seemed little dampened by headlines from abroad on Monday. Brent crude oil hit a 14-month low as Kurdish forces made progress against militants in Iraq and the Kiev military reported new successes against pro-Russian separatists in Luhansk.

Airline stocks soared as oil prices slid. United Continental Holdings Inc gained 4% and shares of Southwest Airlines rose 3.6%.

A flurry of merger and acquisitions activity gave stocks a boost. Discount retailer Dollar General Corp offered to buy Family Dollar Stores Inc for $8.95 billion, driving Dollar General shares up 11.6% and pushing Family Dollar shares up 4.9%.

Sensors and electrical controls maker Sensata Technologies Holding NV said it would buy the Schrader group of companies in a transaction that valued the business at $1 billion, including debt. Sensata shares rose 5.8%.

Shares of Urban Outfitters rose 2.4% ahead of the clothing retailer's earnings report.

In Asia, shares gained on Tuesday after confidence in the US housing industry climbed to the highest level in seven months and tensions eased over global political conflicts.

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index gained 0.5% to 149 as of 9:41 a.m. in Hong Kong. Japan’s Topix index increased 0.7% and Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index rose 0.6%.

South Korea’s Kospi index gained 0.8%. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index advanced 0.1%, near the highest level in six years. Taiwan’s Taiex Index advanced 0.8% and New Zealand’s NZX 50 Index added 0.9%. Singapore’s Straits Times Index rose 0.2%.

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