Stocks open higher ahead of the latest U.S. consumer confidence report.


NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- U.S. stocks opened higher Tuesday as investors cheered a better-than-expected home price report and awaited the latest consumer confidence numbers.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average was rising 28.3 points, or 0.23%, at 12,531. The S&P 500 was up by 3.41 points, or 0.25%, at 1317. The Nasdaq was rising 9.79 points, or 0.3%, at 2845.

Stocks were hammered Monday as investors fled riskier assets on concerns about Europe's ability to address its escalating debt problems.

The latest batch of worrisome headlines from across the pond included: Cyprus reportedly asking for a bailout, the resignation of Greece's finance minister and Spain making a formal request for funding to solidify its banking system.

The Conference Board, on Tuesday, is expected by economists to report that U.S. consumer confidence declined to 63.8 in June after falling to 64.9 in May, hurt by the tepid labor market, weaker equity prices and also to the uncertainties surrounding the looming fiscal cliff. The report will be issued at 10 a.m. EDT.

The Case-Shiller 20-city Index showed that home prices fell by 1.9% in April from a year ago. While still negative, this is an improvement over the 2.6% decline the month before. Economists, on average, thought the index would fall 2.5% from a year ago. Home prices on average increased 1.3% in April for the 20-city composite after seven straight months of declines.

In Europe, German market research group GfK predicted Tuesday that its consumer sentiment index for Germany will improve in July for the first time in five months, rising to 5.8 from 5.7 in June, as an improvement in income expectations helped offset some worries about the economic impact of the eurozone turbulence.

The FTSE in London was up 0.11% and the DAX in Germany was up 0.14%.

The Spanish Treasury sold €3.077 billion ($3.850 billion) of three-month and six-month treasury bills Tuesday at much heftier borrowing costs than the prior month as investors grew more and more concerned that the country will have trouble handling its debt as it requests financial aid for its shaky banking sector.

The Hong Kong Hang Seng index closed up by 0.45% and the Nikkei in Japan settled down by 0.81%.



August crude oil futures were up 21 cents to $79.42 a barrel. August gold futures were lower by $3.40 to $1,585 an ounce.

The benchmark 10-year Treasury was slipping by 7/32, raising the yield to 1.629%, while the dollar was falling by 0.2%, according to the dollar index.

News Corp.(NYSE:NWSA) is considering splitting into two companies, separating its smaller publishing business from its entertainment businesses, The Wall Street Journal reported, citing people familiar with the situation.

The split would carve off such assets as 20th Century Fox film studio, Fox broadcast network and Fox News channel from News Corp.'s newspapers, book publishing assets and education businesses. News Corp. owns the Journal.

A final decision on the split hasn't been made, according to the Journal. News Corp. Chairman Rupert Murdoch has previously opposed such a move, but has recently warmed to the idea, said one person familiar with the situation.

Facebook(NYSE:FB) named Sheryl Sandberg, the social-networking company's No. 2 executive, to its board.

Sandberg, Facebook's chief operating officer, is the eighth member of the company's board and its first woman.

LDK Solar(:LDK) posted a loss in the first quarter Tuesday of $135.8 million, or 1.46 cents per American depository share, a reversal from year-earlier profit of $135.4 million, or 95 cents per ADS.

Net sales fell 74% to $200 million from $766.3 million a year earlier.

Analysts were expecting LDK Solar to post a loss of $1.14 per ADS on revenue of $225.5 million, according to Thomson Reuters.

Apollo Group(:APOL), the operator of the University of Phoenix, reported fiscal third-quarter adjusted earnings Monday of $1.20 a share on revenue of $1.13 billion, beating analysts' estimates of a profit of 97 cents a share on revenue of $1.12 billion.

Apollo forecast revenue of $4.2 billion to $4.3 billion for fiscal 2012.

Coinstar(:CSTR) said Monday it would record a charge of 40 cents to 50 cents a share in fiscal 2012 on its deal to acquire NCR's(:NCR) DVD rental kiosk business.

-- Written by Andrea Tse in New York.



>To contact the writer of this article, click here: Andrea Tse.