Stocks Opened Slightly Higher After Home Price Data

U.S. stocks began  with mild gains on Tuesday after a tepid Case-Shiller home price index report.  The Dow Jones Industrial Average lately gained 14.91 points to 13,256.54. The S&P 500 rose 2.33 points to 1,418.84. The Nasdaq Composite added 5.63 points to 3,128.20.

Home prices fell in January for a fifth straight month in most major U.S. cities, as modest sales increases have yet to boost prices. The Standard & Poor’s/Case-Shiller home-price index released Tuesday showed that prices dropped in January from December in 16 of 19 cities tracked.

Apple Inc Chief Executive Tim Cook has jetted into China for talks with government officials as he seeks to clear up a pile of problems in the firm’s biggest growth market, from its contested iPad trademark to treatment of local labour.

The 17 countries that use the euro need to build a €1 trillion ($1.3 trillion) firewall to help the struggling currency union return to growth, the head of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development said Tuesday.

A strong earthquake shook northern Japan on Tuesday, but no damage was reported and there was no risk of a tsunami. The Japan Meteorological Agency recorded a 6.4 preliminary magnitude. The agency said there may be a small change in sea levels but did not issue tsunami warnings.

Oil futures returned to the black Tuesday after a dip in early floor trading. Crude for May delivery rose 26 cents, or 0.2%, to trade at $107.35 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

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