March's Case-Shiller 20-city home price index slipped 0.5% from February, dashing economists' expectations for 3% growth. The Federal Housing Finance Agency's housing price index for March rose 0.3% from February's decline of 0.4%.
Consumer confidence rose for a third consecutive month to a level not seen in more than two years as the Conference Board said confidence rose to 63.3 in May from 57.7 in April. May's level was better than the reading of 58.3 that economists had been expecting. During a speech in London, St. Louis Federal Reserve Bank President James Bullard said Europe's sovereign debt problems, in all likelihood, will probably not lead to another worldwide recession that many are fearing, according to a report from The Associated Press. Comments from Rep. Barney Frank (D., Mass.), who serves as chair of the House Financial Services Committee, may have offered some help to the banking sector. Frank, who will also chair a legislative panel meant to hammer out discrepancies between financial reform measures passed by the House and Senate, voiced disagreement with a provision to cull out the derivatives trading operations from major banks, both Reuters and The Wall Street Journal reported. While bank stocks struggled as a group for much of the day, the KBW Bank index turned positive late and finished with a 1% gain. Late Tuesday, the American Petroleum Institute said crude oil inventory levels climbed up by 616,000 barrels for the week ending May 21, according to Bloomberg. Analysts polled by Platts were projecting a 100,000-barrel increase to crude oil stockpiles last week. Traders will get another look at supply figures Wednesday morning when the government's Energy Information Administration releases their own data.