* Wall Street advances after upbeat U.S. economic data
* Brent, U.S. oil futures settle higher
* Euro rebounds in late-day trading, gold slips
* Treasury prices rebound to trade higher
By Herbert Lash
NEW YORK, March 26 Global equity markets and
crude oil rose on Tuesday after housing and manufacturing data
added to evidence of an improving U.S. economy and helped offset
investor concerns about the Cyprus bailout.
Wall Street advanced on separate reports that showed demand
for long-lasting U.S. manufactured goods surged in February
while U.S. single-family home prices started the year with the
biggest annual increase since June 2006.
But the Conference Board, an industry group, reported that
consumer confidence tumbled in March as Americans turned more
pessimistic about short-term economic prospects, adding a note
of caution to a market still skittish over Cyprus.
The benchmark S&P 500 index remained just below its all-time
closing high set in October 2007, as it has for more than two
Michael Sheldon, chief market strategist at RDM Financial in
Westport, Connecticut, said investors needed to see further
improvement in the economy for equities to move higher.
The euro edged higher against the U.S. dollar but remained
near four-month lows as concerns lingered over the negative
implications of a rescue plan for Cyprus, and whether it would
serve as a template for other euro zone economies requiring
The single currency remains vulnerable to concern investors
may shun euro zone assets or withdraw money from banks in other
debt-plagued countries like Spain and Italy.
"There's uncertainty in Europe as for what is the blueprint
when (economies) need to be rescued," said Sheldon. "The market
trend continues to be higher, but investors are gun-shy in light
of recent gains."
The Dow Jones industrial average was up 103.64
points, or 0.72 percent, at 14,551.39. The Standard & Poor's 500
Index was up 10.76 points, or 0.69 percent, at 1,562.45.
The Nasdaq Composite Index was up 13.22 points, or 0.41
percent, at 3,248.52.
MSCI's all-country world index, which tracks
6,000 stocks in 45 countries, rose 0.37 percent to 359.14.
In Europe, the FTSEurofirst 300 of leading regional
shares closed 0.21 percent higher at 1,188.89.
"Markets are struggling to find direction due to the
confusing position taken by authorities in relation to Cyprus,
although they're continuing to react to positive data from the
United States," said Henk Potts, market strategist at Barclays.
Brent crude futures swung between gains and losses, before
settling higher, while U.S. crude pushed higher on supportive
Brent rose $1.19 to settle at $109.36 a barrel. U.S.
crude gained $1.53 to settle at $96.34 a barrel.
"Solid housing data showing rising home prices pointed to a
U.S. economy that continues to rebound, helping boost U.S.
crude," said John Kilduff, partner at Again Capital LLC in New
The euro last traded at $1.2861, up 0.06 percent in a
session of choppy trading.
Political uncertainty in Italy and the divergence of the
weak European economy compared with the recovery in the United
States, along with concerns over any fallout from Cyprus'
crisis, may limit the single currency's upside.
U.S. government debt and other safe-haven assets were lower.
The benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury note was up 3/32
in price to yield 1.9076 percent.
Gold, which typically benefits from economic uncertainty,
fell. U.S. gold futures for April delivery settled down
$8.80 at $1,595.70 an ounce. Spot gold prices fell $6.00