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Stocks - Dow Ends Higher, but Gains Capped by Weak Economic Data

Investing.com - The Dow ended higher as energy stocks jumped, but weak economic data added to concerns about global growth, keeping a lid on gains.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose about 0.55%. The S&P 500 was stronger and added 0.72%, while the Nasdaq Composite gained 0.71%.

Rising energy stocks powered the broader market higher as oil prices advanced 1.9% amid easing worries of a glut in global supplies following a power cut in Venezuela and expectations the Energy Information Administration will report a draw in crude inventories for the third-straight week on Wednesday.

Stocks gave up some of their bulky intraday gains as U.S. bond yields eased from session highs, though the United States 10-Year yield managed to hold above the key 2.40% level. The move arrived as U.S. data pointed to a slowdown in the underlying economy amid soft housing and consumer confidence numbers.

The Conference Board’s consumer confidence gauge fell to reading of 124.1 in March from 131.4 in February, well short of economists' forecasts for a reading of 132.

Investor jitters on economic growth took a further hit as U.S. housing starts fell 8.7%, the second-biggest monthly decline since November 2016. Building permits, a key indicator of U.S. housing production, fell 1.6%, down for the second-straight month.

The weaker housing data triggered mixed performance in homebuilders.

DR Horton (NYSE:DHI) fell 0.91% and Lennar (NYSE:LEN), which reports results on Wednesday before U.S. markets open, rose 0.32%. KB Home (NYSE:KBH) rose 0.88%.

In tech, meanwhile, Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) came under pressure, falling 1%, after a U.S. trade judge said that the iPhone maker had infringed a Qualcomm patent and ruled that some imported iPhones should be banned from the United States. Qualcomm (NASDAQ:QCOM) rose 2.40%.

Consumer discretionary stocks eked out a gain for the day despite an 8.7% slump in shares of Carnival (NYSE:CCL) as its above-consensus fiscal first-quarter results were overshadowed by weaker-than-expected earnings guidance.

The cruise line guided second-quarter fiscal earnings in a range of 56 to 60 cents per share, below current estimates of 73 cents per share, according to S&P Capital IQ.

In other company news, Viacom (NASDAQ:VIAB) surged after the broadcaster reaffirmed its full-year guidance for its media networks division. This comes amid reports the company has resumed merger talks with CBS (NYSE:CBS)

Top S&P 500 Gainers and Losers Today:

Viacom (NASDAQ:VIAB), Biogen (NASDAQ:BIIB) and CBS (NYSE:CBS) were among the top S&P 500 gainers for the session.

Carnival (NYSE:CCL), Abiomed (NASDAQ:ABMD) and WellCare Health Plans (NYSE:WCG) were among the worst S&P 500 performers of the session.

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