- U.S. stocks finished Tuesday higher after Russia said it had no plans to annex Ukraine, while data out of the housing sector drew applause as well.

At the close of U.S. trading, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.55%, the S&P 500 index rose 0.72%, while the Nasdaq Composite index rose 1.25%.

Markets rallied after Russian President Vladimir Putin said that Moscow isn''t seeking "a partition of Ukraine."

The speech came one day after President Putin recognized the results of Sunday''s referendum in Crimea, which saw a majority of voters opting to split from Ukraine.

The European Union and the U.S. have declared the vote illegal and imposed sanctions.

Relief buying sent stocks rising as did data suggesting the U.S. economy continues to recover despite lingering headwinds.

The Labor Department on Tuesday reported that the U.S. consumer price index slowed to 1.1% in February from 1.6% in January. Analysts had expected the annual inflation rate to decline to 1.2%.

Month-on-month, U.S. consumer prices rose 0.1% in February, in line with forecasts.

Core inflation rates, which are stripped of volatile food and energy prices, rose 1.6% on year and 0.1% month-on-month, both figures in line with market forecasts.

The Federal Reserve plays close attention to core inflation rates when deciding on monetary policy.

Separately, the Commerce Department reported that the number of building permits issued in the U.S. rose to a four-month high in February, rebounding after a sharp drop in January.

The number of building permits issued last month jumped 7.7% to 1.018 million units, beating market calls for a 1.6% increase..

U.S. housing starts, however, fell 0.2% last month to hit a seasonally adjusted 907,000 units, disappointing expectations for an increase of 3.4% to 910,000 units, though investors viewed the day''s data as bullish from an overall take.

Leading Dow Jones Industrial Average performers included Microsoft, up 3.93%, Pfizer, up 1.62%, and UnitedHealth, also up 1.62%.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average''s worst performers included Boeing, down 1.09%, McDonald''s, down 0.31%, and Procter & Gamble, down 0.09%.

European indices, meanwhile, finished higher.

After the close of European trade, the EURO STOXX 50 rose 0.78%, France''s CAC 40 rose 0.97%, while Germany''s DAX 30 rose 0.67%. Meanwhile, in the U.K. the FTSE 100 rose 0.56%.

On Wednesday, markets will pay close attention to the Federal Reserve.

The U.S. central bank is to announce its decision on interest rates and monetary policy followed by a press conference with Janet Yellen, her first as head of the monetary authority.

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