U.S. stocks rose slightly Wednesday, after the release of strong economic reports and strong housing data.
In world economic news, European markets ended lower as both the FTSE 100 in England and the DAX in Germany fell close to 0.4 percent. Meanwhile, Asian stocks were mixed, as the Nikkei in Japan fell 0.5 percent and the Hang Seng in Hong Kong rose 0.5 percent.
In U.S. economic news, profits at U.S. banks rose 17 percent in the fourth quarter of 2013 from a year earlier, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) reported. The banking industry recorded profits of $40.3 billion in the October-December period, up from $34.4 billion in the same quarter of 2012.
Meanwhile, sales of new single-family homes jumped to a more than five-year high in January, the Commerce Department reported. Sales jumped 9.6 percent to an annual rate of 468,000 units, the highest level since July 2008.
The dollar rose versus the Pound, the Euro, and the Yen. Light sweet crude oil for March delivery rose to $102.46 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Gold futures fell to $1,328.90 an ounce.
The Dow Jones industrial average rose 18.75, or 0.1 percent, to 16,198.41. The broader Standard & Poor’s 500 index rose 0.04, or 0.0 percent, to 1,845.16. The technology-heavy Nasdaq composite index rose 4.47, or 0.1 percent, to 4,292.06.