New data show U.S. home sales advanced in February while job layoffs rose slightly last week.
Thursday's Commerce Department report showed home sales rose 6.1 percent to hit a seven-month high in February. If newly-constructed homes sold at last month's pace for a full year, 592,000 would change hands. That is nearly 13 percent better than the same time last year.
Analysts at Wells Fargo Securities said unusually mild weather in February sped up the buying process, so the next few months may see slower sales.
The number of Americans signing up for unemployment assistance rose by 15,000 last week, according to the Labor Department. While the number of layoffs was higher, at 258,000 it is still low enough to show a healthy job market.