Wall Street closes higher

US stocks reverse two days of falls on consumer confidence numbers.

US stocks have reversed a two-day skid, buoyed by a surge in consumer confidence, though earlier gains were narrowed somewhat at the tail end of the session.

At the closing bell, the Dow Jones Industrial Average jumped 91.19 points, or 0.56%, to 16,367.88. In earlier trade, the Dow was more than 120 points, or 0.80%, higher.

The broad-based S&P 500 added 8.18 points, or 0.44%, to 1,865.62, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite Index gained 7.88 points, or 0.19%, to 4,234.27.

It's the third straight day the Nasdaq has lagged the other main indices.

One catalyst for the strong showing on markets was the release of US consumer confidence numbers, which were at their highest level in six years.

Housing data, on the other hand, was mixed as the rate of home price growth slowed marginally and new home sales fell 3.3% in February. Both reads were largely in line with expectations.

In Europe, leading markets in Britain, France and Germany all surged more than one% as the European Central Bank hinted that fresh stimulus measures were available should the threat of deflation rise.