Wall Street ends higher amid Fed chair remarks

U.S. stocks hit fresh highs at market close on Tuesday, following Monday's all-time closing highs, as investors digested Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell's latest speech and a slew of newly released data.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average increased 55.21 points, or 0.20 percent, to 28,121.68. The S&P 500 was up 6.88 points, or 0.22 percent, to 3,140.52. The Nasdaq Composite Index rose 15.44 points, or 0.18 percent, to 8,647.93.

Eight of the 11 primary S&P 500 sectors traded on an upbeat note, with real estate rising 1.40 percent shortly after the closing bell, outperforming the rest.

Shares of Best Buy rose 9.86 percent, after the company posted better-than-expected earnings for the third quarter. The electronics retailer also lifted its earnings guidance for 2019.

On Monday evening, Powell said the U.S. monetary policy is now "well positioned" to support a robust labor market and "return inflation decisively" to the Fed's 2-percent target.

"At this point in the long expansion, I see the glass as much more than half full. With the right policies, we can fill it further," he said at the Greater Providence Chamber of Commerce.

A view of New York Stock Exchange /VCG Photo

A view of New York Stock Exchange /VCG Photo

On the economic front, The Conference Board's consumer confidence index fell to 125.5 in November, marking a four-month losing streak, the think tank reported on Tuesday.

"Consumer confidence declined for a fourth consecutive month, driven by a softening in consumers' assessment of current business and employment conditions," said Lynn Franco, senior director of economic indicators at The Conference Board.

Sales of new single-family houses registered an annual rate of 733,000 in October, down 0.7 percent from the revised September rate, the U.S. Census Bureau said on Tuesday.

The median sales price of new houses sold last month was 316,700 U.S. dollars, lower than the average sales price.

U.S.-listed Chinese firms trade mostly higher

Nine of the top 10 stocks by weight in the S&P U.S. Listed China 50 index end the day on a positive note.

Following its Hong Kong debut closed 6.59 percent higher, Alibaba Group Holding rose 2.23 percent, leading the gainers in the top 10 stocks of the index together with NetEase of 3.26 percent up.

As of Monday, the S&P U.S. Listed China 50 index stood at 3,024.24, marking a 4.47-percent increase for the month-to-date returns and a 31.99-percent gain for the year-to-date returns.

(With input from Xinhua)