NEW YORK: Home builders led stocks up on Tuesday, helping major indexes recoup some losses from the day before. Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. surged after the media conglomerate said it might split into two companies.
The Dow Jones industrial average rose 32.01 points to close at 12,534.67.
PulteGroup, Lennar and other housing stocks climbed after news that a measure of national home prices rose 1.3 percent in April, the first increase in seven months. The Standard & Poor’s/Case-Shiller home price index showed a rise in 19 out of the 20 major cities tracked; Detroit was the only city where prices fell.
PulteGroup rose 49 cents to $9.72 and Lennar rose 81 cents to $27.39.
“There’s some good news out there, especially if you look at the housing market,” said John De Clue, regional investment director of U.S. Bank’s wealth management unit in Minneapolis. “But there’s this overriding theme: concerns over global growth. Things are pretty much slowing everywhere you look.”
News Corp. jumped 8 percent. The company confirmed that it’s contemplating a breakup into two publicly traded companies. The split would divide its publishing from its entertainment businesses. The media empire includes the Wall Street Journal, Fox News Channel, and newspapers in Britain and Australia. News Corp.’s stock leapt $1.68 to $21.76.
In other trading, the broader Standard & Poor’s 500 index gained 6.27 points to 1,319.99. The Nasdaq composite rose 17.90 points to 2,854.06.
Investors sold coal company stocks after S&P lowered the credit rating for James River Coal deeper into junk status, citing weaker demand for coal. James River plunged 15 percent, or 43 cents, to $2.49.
Alpha Natural Resources sank 20 cents, to $7.73. Peabody Energy dropped 34 cents to $21.12.
More worrisome developments in Europe kept U.S. markets in check. Spain’s borrowing costs jumped in a pair of short-term debt auctions, the latest sign that investors are hesitant to lend the country money. The interest rate on the country’s 3-month bills was 2.36 percent Tuesday, nearly triple the rate in the last such auction in May.
Spain’s main stock index sank 1.5 percent, the second straight day of deep losses, and the yield on its benchmark 10-year government bond rose to 6.81 percent. The slump in Spanish financial markets came a day after the credit rating agency Moody’s lowered ratings on 28 Spanish banks.
The Dow remains up 1.1 percent for June. The S&P 500 is up 0.7 percent.
Among other stocks: Apollo Group, a for-profit education company which operates the University of Phoenix, soared 10 percent to $35.81. The company reported quarterly income that was far larger than analysts had expected.