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Stocks gain...Consumer spending barely rises...New-home sales climb

March 29, 2019

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks are broadly higher in morning trading on Wall Street, extending yesterday’s gains. The benchmark S&P 500 index is on track to close out the first quarter with its best quarterly gain since the third quarter of 2009. The S&P technology sector is powering much of those gains, climbing more than 18 percent. Ride-hailing company Lyft made its stock market debut and exceeded expectations with an offering price of $72 a share.

WASHINGTON (AP) — Consumer spending edged up a tiny 0.1 percent in January. The Commerce Department says the weak gain followed a 0.6 percent plunge in December that represented the biggest one-month drop in more than nine years. Incomes advanced a modest 0.2 percent in February. The numbers support the view of many analysts that the economy has entered a soft patch and that growth is significantly slower in the current quarter.

WASHINGTON (AP) — Sales of new U.S. homes climbed 4.9 percent in February, suggesting that falling mortgage rates have given a boost to demand from buyers. The Commerce Department says new homes sold at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 667,000 in February, and January’s number was revised upward to 636,000. The median sales price of a new home in February fell 3.6 percent to $315,300.

BEIJING (AP) — Chinese and U.S. negotiators have wrapped up trade talks in Beijing with U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin (mih-NOO’-shin) saying they were “constructive.” Mnuchin said in a tweet that he looked forward to continuing the talks in Washington next week. Neither side provided any details on the status of the talks or said if major progress had been made.

LONDON (AP) — British Prime Minister Theresa May says voting on her EU divorce deal is “the last opportunity to guarantee Brexit.” The House of Commons will be voting later today on May’s twice-rejected European Union divorce deal amid continuing opposition from hard-line Brexit supporters and Northern Ireland lawmakers. If the deal is rejected again, Britain will crash out of the bloc in two weeks unless the EU agrees to extend the Brexit deadline.