June 25 - Summary: Investors were in a buying mood after data on housing, consumer confidence and durable goods showed an uptick in economic activity; Obama takes new aim at climate change. Conway G. Gittens reports.
Investors take pleasure in the latest round of economic data. The Dow and S&P 500 nearly took back all of the previous day's decline and the Nasdaq snaps a four-session plunge. More impressive - stocks rallied even though yields on the 10-year note hover around 2.6 percent Housing remains a pillar of strength for the U.S. economy. Sales of single-family homes jumped close to a five-year high in May. New homes sales are up three months in a row, according to the Commerce Department. Another report showed home prices logging the biggest annual rise in seven years - a gain of 12.1 percent; that by way of the S&P-Case Shiller index of 20 major cities. But how will housing be impacted by the recent spike in interest rates? David Blitzer is chairman of the index committee at S&P Dow Jones Indices. SOUNDBITE: DAVID BLITZER, CHAIRMAN OF INDEX COMMITTEE, S&P DOW JONES INDICES (ENGLISH) SAYING: "I don't think that is going to close housing down right away. I do think some people will move to adjustable rate loans, some people will change how much they are making on the down payment and how much they are financing, but I don't think mortgage rates are anywhere close to have a real negative impact on housing." By the way, the head of Lennar pretty much agrees. The homebuilder boasted a better-than-expected 53-percent surge in quarterly revenues. Take a look at how housing stocks fared following the beat-down they received in previous sessions. Closely related: consumer confidence. It improved for a third month, reaching highs not seen since the start of 2008. And orders for costly, large-ticket items known as durable goods rose more than expected in May and figures for April were revised higher. President Obama wants to limit carbon emissions from power plants. In a detailed plan aimed at tackling climate change he also says he will block the proposed Keystone XL pipeline if it adds to greenhouse gases. Shares of pipeline owner TransCanada rose despite the warning. In European action, ahead of elections - German Chancellor Angela Merkel tells conservative business leaders she knows Germany has to do more internally to boost Europe externally. Stocks across Europe closed higher before comments from the region's economic powerhouse.