Stocks appeared to shrug off some better than expected economic figures in the morning. March factory orders grew 1.3%, according to a report from the U.S. Commerce Department. Economists had been expecting a decline of 0.2%. Pending home sales surged by a higher-than-expected 5.3% in March, according to the National Association of Realtors Pending Home Sales Index, which extends the prior month's growth of 8.3%. Economists had been projecting an increase of 5%.
The Senators will begin casting votes on financial regulatory reform legislation today, with The Hill's On the Money blog reporting that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D. Nev.) expects final approval of the measure by next week. Earlier, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said he has no qualms with a bank tax that could raise as much as $90 billion in the next 10 years, The Associated Press reported. The American Petroleum Institute said inventories jumped by 2.95 million barrels last week, according to Bloomberg. Analysts polled by Platts expected a build of 1.54 million barrels to crude oil stockpiles. Investors will get another read on inventory data, this time from the Energy information Administration, Wednesday morning.