* Consumer confidence index jumps to 16-yr high in March
* Bank shares rise; healthcare stocks slip
* Fed Chair Janet Yellen to speak later in the day
* Indexes up: Dow 0.29 pct, S&P 0.23 pct, Nasdaq 0.04 pct
(Adds details, comments, updates prices)
By Yashaswini Swamynathan
March 28 The Dow was on track to snap an
eight-day losing streak on Tuesday as financial stocks rose on
the back of strong consumer data, offsetting losses in the
U.S. consumers' confidence in the economy rose in March to
its highest level since December 2000, a survey by the
Conference Board showed on Tuesday, led by optimism for finding
work and a brighter assessment of business conditions.
The S&P 500 financial sector rose 0.67 percent.
Gains in Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan propped up
"This market is driven by two things - the hope of policy
agenda getting put into place and improving fundamentals," said
Art Hogan, chief market strategist at Wunderlich Equity Capital
Markets in New York.
"Whenever you found out that the agenda might take longer to
get put out, you've gotten some piece of economic data that
reminds you that the fundamental backdrop is still strong."
Tuesday's gains come after a week of declines on the Dow as
investors fretted over President Donald Trump's ability to push
his agenda as his healthcare bill failed to find enough
supporters before being withdrawn in Congress on Friday.
However, investors appeared to have shrugged off the
setback, choosing instead to focus on Trump's promise of
reforming the U.S. tax code, which has been a key driver in the
post-election record rally.
The White House late on Monday said it would take a lead
role in crafting the tax reform legislature and set an August
target date for the bill.
At 11:01 a.m. ET (1501 GMT), the Dow Jones Industrial
Average was up 59.54 points, or 0.29 percent, at
20,610.52, the S&P 500 was up 5.48 points, or 0.23
percent, at 2,347.07 and the Nasdaq Composite was up
2.12 points, or 0.04 percent, at 5,842.49.
Five of the 11 major S&P 500 sectors were higher, led by
gains in financials, three were lower and the rest remained
Healthcare, which had risen the most on Monday, was
off 0.4 percent, weighed down by Johnson & Johnson and
Apple's 0.6 percent gain made it the top stock on
the S&P and the Nasdaq.
General Motors rose 3 percent to $35.76 after
activist investor David Einhorn's Greenlight Capital urged the
carmaker to split its stock into two classes.
Tesla rose 2.3 percent to $276.66 after disclosing
that Chinese technology giant Tencent Holdings had
taken a 5 percent passive stake in the company for $1.78
Comments from several Federal Reserve officials, including
Fed Chair Janet Yellen, on Tuesday will be closely watched for
more insight into the health of the U.S. economy and the timing
of the next interest rate hike.
Advancing issues outnumbered decliners on the NYSE by 1,704
to 1,063. On the Nasdaq, 1,388 issues fell and 1,235 advanced.
The S&P 500 index showed 12 new 52-week highs and four new
lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 56 new highs and 22 new lows.
(Reporting by Yashaswini Swamynathan in Bengaluru; Editing by