Shares of retailers and other consumer companies rose as worries about the coronavirus faded and economic data came in strong.
Housing starts fell by 3.6% in January, but permits to build new houses rose to a 13-year high. Puma and Adidas warned of a hit from the coronavirus on this year's sales, sharpening concerns about how the outbreak is affecting the athletics gear industry that has long looked to China as both a market and a production base.
"Some areas are going to be impacted by the coronavirus," said Oliver Pursche, chief market strategist at broker dealer Bruderman Brothers. "Broadly speaking, the initial kind of hyperfear surrounding it was overdone."
Investors initially responded as if the outbreak would markedly slow global economic growth. "That's the worry, but, so far, that hasn't materialized in a strong manner," said Mr. Pursche.
Walmart's earnings report showed that its Indian mobile payment business PhonePe is "growing even faster than expected," said analysts at brokerage Morgan Stanley, in a note to clients.
Diageo has agreed to pay $5 million to settle charges brought by the Securities and Exchange Commission that it hit performance goals in North America by pressuring distributors to buy products in excess of demand.
Bed Bath & Beyond shares rose a session after the home-goods retailer's earnings report.
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