views

THE NEW YORK REPORT

US stocks snapped a three-day losing streak yesterday as stronger-than-expected home sales data fuelled optimism while a weaker dollar boosted commodity-linked stocks.<br /><br />Sales of previously owned US homes rose to their highest level in more than 2-1/2 years last month. That helped to ease concerns about the sector generated last week when another report showed housing starts fell sharply in October.<br /><br />Yesterday&rsquo;s data went some distance to reassure investors who have pared positions as they fret about the economy. Stocks rallied broadly, with all 10 S&amp;P sectors showing strong gains.<br /><br />The Dow industrials reached a new 13-month high but volume was light, which some investors read as a lack of conviction.<br /><br />&ldquo;We had one bad (housing) start number and people were so willing to talk about a double-dip (recession),&rdquo; said Jim Paulsen, of Wells Capital Management. &ldquo;The great bulk of the evidence says there&rsquo;s definitely been a recovery going on in housing, and today certainly adds to that.&rdquo;<br /><br />The Dow Jones industrial average gained 132.79 points, or 1.29 per cent, to end at 10,450.95. The Standard &amp; Poor&rsquo;s 500 Index rose 14.86 points, or 1.36 per ent, to 1,106.24. The Nasdaq Composite Index added 29.97 points, or 1.40 per cent, to close at 2,176.01.<br /><br />The US dollar fell 0.7 per cent against major currencies after suggestions the Federal Reserve should extend its mortgage-related assets purchase programme. That fuelled expectations that interest rates would remain low for an extended period.<br />