Dow on track to snap eight-day losing streak as banks gain | Reuters

By Yashaswini Swamynathan

U.S. stocks rose on Tuesday, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average on track to snap an eight-day losing streak as financial stocks jumped on the back of strong consumer data.

U.S. consumers’ confidence in the economy rose in March to its highest level since December 2000, a survey by the Conference Board showed on Tuesday, led by optimism for finding work and a brighter assessment of business conditions.

The S&P 500 financial sector .SPSY jumped 1.16 percent, led by Bank of America (BAC.N). Gains in Goldman Sachs (GS.N) and JPMorgan (JPM.N) boosted the Dow.

“This market is driven by two things – the hope of policy agenda getting put into place and improving fundamentals,” said Art Hogan, chief market strategist at Wunderlich Equity Capital Markets in New York.

“Whenever you found out that the agenda might take longer to get put out, you’ve gotten some piece of economic data that reminds you that the fundamental backdrop is still strong.”

The CBOE Volatility index .VIX eased, a day after hitting its highest level since November. Gold lost some shine as a safe-haven, while the dollar edged up.

At 12:25 p.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average .DJI was up 92.38 points, or 0.45 percent, at 20,643.36, the S&P 500 .SPX was up 11.69 points, or 0.50 percent, at 2,353.28 and the Nasdaq Composite .IXIC was up 18.99 points, or 0.33 percent, at 5,859.37.

Tuesday’s gains come after a week of declines on the Dow as investors fretted over President Donald Trump’s ability to push his agenda after the healthcare bill failed to get enough support, leading to its withdrawal in Congress on Friday.

However, investors appeared to have shrugged off the setback, choosing instead to focus on Trump’s promise of reforming the U.S. tax code, which has been a key driver in the post-election record rally.

The White House late on Monday said it would take a lead role in crafting…

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