U.S. existing home sales rose in February
By Lucia Mutikani Lucia Mutikani – Mon Mar 23, 1:03 pm ET
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Sales of previously owned U.S. homes rose at their fastest pace in nearly six years in February, data showed on Monday, offering some hope to an economy battling a 15-month recession.
The National Association of Realtors (NAR) said sales rebounded 5.1 percent in February to a 4.72 million-unit annual rate, notching their largest gain since July 2003, but about 45 percent of these were foreclosure or short-sale transactions.
This was above market expectations for a drop to a 4.45 million-unit pace after January's 4.49 million rate. Compared to the same period last year, February sales were down 4.6 percent, the NAR said.
U.S. stocks, already rallying after the U.S. government released details of a plan to clean out toxic assets from banks' balance sheets, extended gains on the housing data.
This link is broken, either the page no longer exists or there is some other issue like a typo.Stocks surge on bank plan, rise in home sales
By TIM PARADIS – 44 minutes ago
NEW YORK (AP) — Wall Street is getting the good news it wants on the economy's biggest problems: banks and housing. Investors reignited a two-week rally Monday, cheering the government's plan to help banks remove bad assets from their books as well as a report showing a surprising increase in home sales. Major stock indicators jumped as much as 6 percent, including the Dow Jones industrial average, which soared more than 400 points.
The Treasury Department's bad asset cleanup program would tap money from the government's $700 billion financial rescue fund and involve help from the Federal Reserve, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. and the participation of private investors.
The government's announcement was what the market had waited weeks to hear. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner had announced an outline of the program last month but provided few details then about how it would work, leading to a poor reception in the markets.
Meanwhile, the housing report released Monday was overwhelmingly positive for the markets even though it showed a decline in home prices in February. Investors are embracing any sign that a glut in homes for sale may be easing.
The market had received another dose of housing good news last week on the troubled industry as housing starts for February came in much better than expected.http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/art ... AD973UIJ82Seems like the worst fears of many of you is happening.........The U.S. economy is getting better!!