NEW YORK, March 25 (AFP): Wall Street shares swung higher Friday as a weak report on the housing market encouraged investors hoping for a quick end to the Federal Reserve's cycle of interest rate hikes.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed 38.66 points (0.34 per cent) to 11,308.95, while the Nasdaq composite added 32.51 points (0.40 per cent) to 2,311.85 at 1630 GMT.
The broad-market Standard and Poor's 500 index advanced 3.19 points (0.25 per cent) to 1,304.86.
The market broke higher after a report showed sales of newly built US houses slid 10.5 per cent to 1.08 million in February, the lowest level since May 2003.
This, said analysts, is the latest bit of data likely to keep the Federal Reserve from pushing interest rates too high. Fed policymakers meet next week and are widely expected to announce the 15th consecutive quarter-point increase in the federal funds rate, which currently sits at 4.5 per cent.
"The market did improve with the housing data," said Barry Hyman, equity market strategist at Ehrenkrantz King Nussbaum.