Stocks Move Higher Midday, Oil Falls

(AP) -- Financial companies led U.S. stocks broadly higher Tuesday afternoon as investors weighed encouraging data on consumer confidence and housing. Industrial and retail companies also posted solid gains. Homebuilders rose. Only real estate stocks lagged. The latest batch of company earnings and deal news also helped lift the market.

KEEPING SCORE: The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose 16 points, or 0.6 percent, to 2,618 as of 1:36 p.m. Eastern Time. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 166 points, or 0.7 percent, to 23,747. The Nasdaq composite added 15 points, or 0.2 percent, to 6,893.

THE QUOTE: "The start of the holiday spending season looks to be a bit better than expectations and that's translating all the way down to the financial (stocks)," said Rob Stein, CEO of Astor Investment Management.

BIG DATA: Investors got a double dose of encouraging data on the U.S. economy. The Conference Board said Tuesday that its consumer confidence index rose this month to its highest level since November 2000. Economic growth clocked at a healthy 3 percent annual pace in the third quarter, and the unemployment rate has fallen to a 17-year low of 4.1 percent. A separate index showed U.S. home prices rose at the fastest pace in more than three years in September, fueled by a record-low supply of homes for sale. Homebuilder shares were broadly higher, led by KB Home, which rose 88 cents, or 3.1 percent, to $29.71.

ROAD TO CONFIRMATION: The Senate Banking Committee was hearing testimony from Federal Reserve chair nominee Jerome Powell. In written testimony released before the start of the hearing, Powell said that, if confirmed as the next Fed chairman, he expects the central bank to continue raising interest rates gradually. Powell also said that the Fed would consider ways to ease the regulatory burdens on banks while preserving the key reforms Congress passed to try to prevent another financial crisis. The remarks helped lift financial company shares, including JPMorgan Chase, which rose $2.46, or 2.5 percent, to $100.39.

SWOOPING IN: Buffalo Wild Wings jumped 6.3 percent after it agreed to be acquired by Arby's for $157 a share. Buffalo was at $117.25 a share before reports about a possible deal emerged two weeks ago. Shares in Buffalo shares added $9.22 to $155.63.

NEVER MIND: Emerson Electric rose 3.1 percent after the company withdrew its bid for Rockwell Automation. Emerson shares climbed $1.94 to $63.82. Rockwell added $4.53, or 2.4 percent, to $195.58.

HIT THE ROAD: Thor Industries soared 12.8 percent after the RV maker reported quarterly earnings that were much higher than analysts were expecting. The stock gained $17.46 to $153.71. Rival Winnebago Industries rose $2.90, or 5.7 percent, to $53.55.

STRONG RESULTS: Tech Data climbed 8.9 percent after the information technology products company posted better-than-expected third quarter results and gave strong fourth-quarter forecasts. The stock picked up $8.28 to $101.50.

IN DECLINE: Real estate sector companies were trading lower. Public Storage slipped $5.81, or 2.7 percent, to $209.12.

BOND YIELDS: Bond prices rose. The yield on the 10-year Treasury fell to 2.33 from 2.35 percent late Monday.

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude dropped 13 cents to $57.98 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude, used to price international oils, declined 16 cents to $63.22.

CURRENCIES: The dollar rose to 111.25 yen from 111.01 yen on Monday. The euro weakened to $1.1860 from $1.1899.

MARKETS OVERSEAS: Major stock indexes in Europe rose following a downbeat day in Asia. Germany's DAX added 0.5 percent, while France's CAC 40 gained 0.6 percent. Britain's FTSE 100 rose 1 percent. In Asia, Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 and Hong Kong's Hang Seng were little changed. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 lost nearly 0.1 percent. South Korea's Kospi added 0.3 percent. Shares in Southeast Asia were mixed.

(BE)