Consumer companies rose amid signs of strength in the housing market.

Shares of PulteGroup rallied after the home builder's chief executive said a "structural shortage" of homes in the U.S. was squeezing supply and bolstering demand for new homes.

New home sales rose 8.8% in March, reaching a seasonally adjusted rate of 693,0000, as the latest surge in mortgage rates curtailed listings of used homes, which represent the majority of sales in the U.S.

Gucci owner Kering expects sharply lower operating profit in the first half after sales slumped in the first three months, as demand ground to a halt in China.

The luxury-goods purveyor forecast a decline between 40% and 45% in first-half recurring operating income compared with the year-earlier period, while it continues to invest in its fashion houses.

Shares of tobacco firm Philip Morris International rallied after it posted quarterly earnings ahead of the average analyst target.

U.K. sportswear chain JD Sports Fashion agreed to buy U.S. rival Hibbett for $1.1 billion. Discount airline JetBlue Airways posted a narrower-than-expected loss in the first quarter but forecast muted growth.

Write to Rob Curran at

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

04-23-24 1736ET