* Icahn opens door to Blackstone tie-up on Dell bid
* Demand for long-lasting U.S. goods surged in February
* Home prices up in Jan. for best yearly increase since 2006
* Indexes up: Dow 0.7 pct, S&P 0.6 pct, Nasdaq 0.4 pct
By Rodrigo Campos
NEW YORK, March 26 U.S. stocks rose on Tuesday
after data on home prices and manufacturing showed the economy
continues to improve slowly, with the S&P 500 index closing in
on its all-time high.
U.S. single-family home prices rose in January at the
fastest pace in more than six years and demand for long-lasting
U.S. manufactured goods surged in February. However, sales of
new U.S. single-family homes fell more than expected in
The latest data supports equities' rise, but investors find
it hard to push the market higher with the S&P trading so near
its all-time closing high.
"We need to see continued improvement in economic data" in
order to successfully hold the year's gains, said Michael
Sheldon, chief market strategist at RDM Financial in Westport,
The euro was little changed against the U.S. dollar and
remained near four-month lows on lingering concerns about the
negative implications of a rescue plan for Cyprus. Markets worry
it will serve as a template for other euro zone economies
"There's uncertainty in Europe ... what is the blueprint
when (economies) need to be rescued," Sheldon said.
"The market trend continues to be higher but investors are
gun-shy in light of recent gains."
Banks in Cyprus will remain closed until Thursday and will
then be subject to capital controls to prevent a run on
deposits. President Nicos Anastasiades said late on Monday that
a 10 billion euro ($13 billion) rescue plan agreed at the
weekend was "painful" but essential to avoid economic meltdown.
The Dow Jones industrial average rose 96.75 points or
0.67 percent, to 14,544.5, the S&P 500 gained 8.51 points
or 0.55 percent, to 1,560.2 and the Nasdaq Composite
added 12.31 points or 0.38 percent, to 3,247.61.
The benchmark S&P 500 index traded on Monday just a quarter
point below its all-time closing high, then retreated as
investors cashed in gains in the wake of news out of Europe. Its
record close stands at 1,565.15, set Oct. 9, 2007.
Monsanto and DuPont have settled a legal
battle over rights to technology for genetically modified seeds
and will drop antitrust and patent lawsuits against each other
in U.S. federal court. Monsanto shares rose 3.2 percent to
$102.61 and DuPont shed 0.7 percent to $48.77.
Shares of Supervalu Inc rose 2 percent to $5.15
after it said it will cut about 1,100 jobs across the United
States as it tries to revamp its business after selling some of
its supermarket chains.
Michael Dell's $24.4 billion buyout bid for Dell Inc
could be derailed after billionaire Carl Icahn opened
the door to an alliance with Blackstone Group LP to take
control of the computer maker from its founder. Dell shares rose
0.2 percent to $14.54.