NEW YORK, March 19 (Xinhua) -- U.S. stocks opened higher Tuesday, bouncing back from the previous day's losses, as U.S. new housing starts in February came in better than expected and investors' fears eased over the Cyprus crisis.
U.S. privately-owned housing starts in February were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 917,000, which is 0.8 percent above the revised January estimate of 910,000 and 27.7 percent above the year-ago level, the Commerce Department reported.
Meanwhile, building permits, an indication of future demand, rose 4.6 percent from the prior month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 946,000 in February, the Commerce Department added.
In the previous trading day, the three major indices fell on reports that the Cypriot government is to vote on bank deposits levy as part of a bailout plan decided by eurozone finance ministers.
However, the vote was postponed to Tuesday because of strong opposition from parliamentarian lawmakers and depositors in Cyprus.
The Federal Open Market Committee convened on Tuesday for a two-day policy meeting. In light of the Cyprus crisis and a volatile global recovery, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke is expected to continue to offer his support for the ongoing massive asset purchases at a pace of 85-billion-U.S. dollars per month and keep interest rates near zero.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average jumped 44.31, or 0.31 percent, to 14,496.37 The S&P 500 Index increased 4.81, or 0.31 percent, to 1,556.91. The Nasdaq Composite Index gained 10.77 or 0.33 percent, to 3,248.36.