Stocks Opened Higher, Boosted by Oil Rally, Car Sales

U.S. stocks opened higher on Tuesday  on rising oil prices, upbeat car sales numbers and mergers and acquisition activity. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lately jumped 178.34 points, or 1.03%, to 17,539.38. The S&P 500 gained 16.95 points, or 0.84%, to 2,037.80. The Nasdaq Composite was up 27.22 points, or 0.58%, to 4,703.91.

Auto makers said Tuesday that their U.S. sales grew in January, typically a slower month for the industry, as strong demand trends appear likely to continue into the new year. Automotive information provider Kelley Blue Book said transaction prices of new light vehicles have grown 5% to $33,993 since January of last year, although they fell 1.7% from December.

U.S. home values rose at a modest pace in December, a sign there are too few potential buyers to bid up prices. Real estate data provider CoreLogic says home prices rose 5 percent in December from 12 months earlier. That is down from the 5.5 percent price gain recorded in November.

Crude-oil futures extended gains Tuesday, with prices rallying on speculation that a sharp decline in U.S. drilling activity will result in supply cuts. On the New York Mercantile Exchange, light, sweet crude futures for delivery in March recently traded at $51.04 a barrel, up $1.46, or 3%, in the Globex electronic session.

Amazon.com Inc., aiming to bolster its brick-and-mortar operations, has discussed acquiring some RadioShack Corp. locations after the electronics chain files for bankruptcy, two people with knowledge of the matter said.

Archer Daniels Midland Co. reported a surge in profit as costs declined, but the company’s revenue fell.The Chicago- based company also increased its quarterly dividend by about 17% to 28 cents a share. The company posted earnings of $701 million, or $1.08 a share, up from $374 million, or 56 cents a share, in the prior-year period.

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