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U.S. Stocks

February 28, 2012 by staff 

U.S. Stocks, U.S. stocks rose modestly on Tuesday as U.S. consumer confidence data and a sharp drop in oil futures prices relieved worries about lackluster spending.

Stocks’ advance was limited by disappointing data on durable goods orders, as well as views the market was losing steam after hitting recent highs. The S&P 500 was on track to close at a four-year high again.

The S&P 500 is up about 9 percent since the start of the year, largely because of data showing stronger momentum in the economy and signs of progress in managing the euro zone’s debt crisis, including a debt deal for Greece.

Consumer confidence in the world’s largest economy jumped to a one-year high in February, according to a report from The Conference Board, a private business research group. This indicator is noted because consumer spending accounts for more than two-thirds of U.S. economic activity.

The drop in oil prices from recent highs also relieved worries about the outlook for consumer spending.

A government report showed orders for U.S. durable goods in January had the biggest fall in three years, which curbed some of the optimism about the pace of the domestic recovery. Durable goods, which are generally meant to last three years or longer, range from big-ticket items like aircraft down to consumer goods like refrigerators and even toasters.

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