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Overnight Markets: Wall Street rebounds on strong consumer confidence data

Overnight Markets: Wall Street rebounds on strong consumer confidence data

Wall Street rebounded on Tuesday as a strong read on consumer confidence increased optimism about the economy and the hard-hit biotechnology sector regained its momentum.

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 91 points, or 0.56%, to close at 16,368. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index gained eight points, or 0.44%, to finish at 1,866. The Nasdaq Composite Index advanced eight points, or 0.19%, to end at 4,234.

Economic data showed consumer confidence increased more than expected in March, surging to its highest level since January 2008.

Investors also watched global issues cautiously. On Monday, major stock indexes declined amid concerns that the crisis in Ukraine could escalate.

In the latest on the housing market, US single-family home prices increased slightly more than expected in January, according to the S&P/Case-Shiller composite index of 20 metropolitan areas, while new home sales declined more than expected in February.

Biotech shares reversed earlier losses, including Regeneron Pharma (REGN.O), ending 0.8% higher, and Gilead Sciences Inc (GILD.O), up 1.3%. Alexion Pharma (ALXN.O) ended 2.2% higher.

Walgreen Co. climbed 3.3% after the owner of pharmacies said it plans to close 76 drugstores in the second half of fiscal 2014.

Netflix (NFLX.O) was down 2.1% after declining for 14 of the past 15 sessions, falling almost 19% over that stretch.

Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc. rose 1.5% as copper prices increased. Carnival Corp. slid 5% after it narrowed its full-year profit forecast.

IBM, the world’s largest computer-services provider, advanced 3.6%. Cisco, the world’s biggest maker of network routers and switches, gained 3.6%. J&J, a health-care products company, rose 2.3%.

In Asia, shares gained on Wednesday in late morning trade after US consumer confidence climbed to a six-year high, buoying investor optimism about the outlook for the world’s biggest economy.

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index added 0.8% to 135 as of 10:56 a.m. in Tokyo. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index gained 1%, while the Hang Seng China Enterprises Index of mainland shares traded in the city rose 1.5%. The Shanghai Composite Index was little changed. Taiwan’s Taiex index rose 0.4%, while Singapore’s Straits Times Index climbed 0.7%.

Japan’s Topix index increased 0.4% and South Korea’s Kospi index advanced 0.9%. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index climbed 1%, while New Zealand’s NZX 50 Index rose 0.4%.

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