* U.S. consumer confidence hits 16-year high
* Financial stocks lead gainers among S&P sectors
* Apple hits record high; top boost to S&P, Nasdaq
* Indexes up: Dow 0.84 pct, S&P 0.89 pct, Nasdaq 0.79 pct
(Updates to late afternoon)
By Lewis Krauskopf
March 28 U.S. stocks posted sharp gains on
Tuesday, with bank and energy stocks surging, as data showed
U.S. consumer confidence soaring to a more than 16-year high.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average was on track to snap an
eight-day losing streak, its longest since 2011. U.S. equities
have surged to record highs in the wake of President Donald
Trump's election in November, but the rally had stalled this
U.S. consumer confidence surged to a more than 16-year high
in March amid growing labor market optimism while the goods
trade deficit narrowed sharply in February. The economy's
strengthening fundamentals were bolstered by other data showing
further increases in house prices in January.
The data "underscore what has been going on really in this
whole rally, and that is that confidence is pretty high and
optimism is high and that has kind of been underpinning the
resiliency of the equity markets," said Jim Davis, regional
investment manager at U.S. Bank Wealth Management in
The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 172.26 points,
or 0.84 percent, to 20,723.24, the S&P 500 gained 20.73
points, or 0.89 percent, to 2,362.32 and the Nasdaq Composite
added 46.25 points, or 0.79 percent, to 5,886.62.
Tuesday's gains come after declines last week as investors
fretted over Trump's ability to enact his agenda after his
fellow Republicans failed to pass their healthcare bill.
However, investors appear to have shrugged off the setback,
choosing instead to focus on Trump's promise of reforming the
U.S. tax code, which has been a key driver in the post-election
"This market is driven by two things - the hope of policy
agenda getting put into place and improving fundamentals," said
Art Hogan, chief market strategist at Wunderlich Equity Capital
Markets in New York.
The financial and energy sectors, which have lagged the
broader market this year, fueled the S&P 500 on Tuesday.
The financial sector jumped 1.7 percent, with
JPMorgan and Bank of America giving big boosts
to the S&P 500. Energy shares gained 1.2 percent,
supported by stronger oil prices.
Apple rose 2.1 percent and gave the biggest boost
to the S&P and the Nasdaq, as the shares hit an all-time high.
In corporate news, General Motors rose 2.9 percent
after activist investor David Einhorn's Greenlight Capital urged
the carmaker to split its stock into two classes.
Tesla rose 3.4 percent after disclosing that
Chinese technology giant Tencent Holdings had taken a
5 percent stake in the electric car maker for $1.78 billion.
Advancing issues outnumbered declining ones on the NYSE by a
2.89-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 1.73-to-1 ratio favored advancers.
The S&P 500 posted 18 new 52-week highs and 4 new lows; the
Nasdaq Composite recorded 78 new highs and 30 new lows.
(Additional reporting by Yashaswini Swamynathan in Bengaluru;
Editing by Anil D'Silva)