NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- The Dow advanced more than 100 points Tuesday, despite a mixed assessment on the U.S. housing market, after President Obama signed a comprehensive health care reform package into law. The Dow Jones Industrial Average added 103 points, or 1%, to 10,889. The S&P 500 gained 8 points, or 0.7%, to 1174, and the Nasdaq went ahead by 20 points, or 0.8%, to 2415. Bob Auer, senior portfolio manager for Auer Growth, attributed recent bullishness to the fact that there's nothing else competing for the money. "There really is just one thing, and it's been said before, but it can't be ignored: There's nothing competing for the money. It's not like you can go into a bank and ask for a CD," Auer said, adding that municipals are a dicey situation, too. "The Fed said it's going to keep rates low for a long time. They basically turned on the spigot. Nothing is going to compete with the stock market right now." Sweeping health care reform became law this afternoon as President Obama signed landmark legislation that extends health insurance to the roughly 30 million people who aren't currently covered, according to estimates. Shares across the health care sector gave back some of their gains with Cigna ( CI) trading 0.9% lower to $36.94 and UnitedHealth Group ( UNH) down 0.4%, to $33.16. Aetna ( AET), however, improved 1%, to $34.99. Shares of government-sponsored mortgage finance enterprises Fannie Mae ( FNM) and Freddie Mac ( FRE) traded ahead by nearly 1% and 0.8%, respectively. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner told the House Financial Services Committee that the U.S. housing finance system needs to be overhauled, but he assured investors that the government is fully committed to backing Fannie and Freddie.
Greece continues to expect a European solution to its debt crisis. According to Reuters, Finance Minister George Papaconstantinou anticipates a positive result from a European Union summit on March 25 and 26. Overseas, Hong Kong's Hang Seng gained 0.3%, and Japan's Nikkei slipped 0.5%. The FTSE in London was rising 0.4%, and the DAX in Frankfurt was up 0.08%.
The EconomyThe housing market was the focus of Tuesday's data, which pointed to marginal improvements in a still-weak industry. The National Association of Realtors said existing-home sales slipped 0.6% to an annual rate of 5.02 million units from 5.05 million units in January. The level was slightly better than the 5 million-unit level that economists had been projecting,
Company NewsKB Home ( KBH) disappointed with a wider-than-expected first-quarter loss. Sales were down 14% and also missed estimates. The stock shed 29 cents, or 1.7%, to $17.15.
Commodities and the DollarAfter the bell, the American Petroleum Institute estimated that crude stocks jumped by 7.51 million barrels last week, according to Bloomberg. Analysts polled by Platts were projecting a much lighter buildup of 1.67 million barrels in crude oil supplies. The Energy Information Administration will release its own inventory data on Wednesday at 10:30 a.m. EST. Crude oil for May delivery settled at $81.91 a barrel after adding 31 cents, while the April