Three key stock indexes have day of modest gains

The Dow Jones Industrial average gained 89.32 points, or 0.6 percent, and closed Tuesday at 16,262.56. Standard & Poor’s 500 index rose 12.37 points, or 0.7 percent, to close at 1,842.98. The Nasdaq added 11.47 points, or 0.3 percent, to 4,034.16.

Benchmark U.S. crude for May delivery slid 30 cents to close at $103.75 on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude, a benchmark used for international varieties of oil, dropped 33 cents to $108.74 on the ICE Futures exchange in London after hitting a six-week high. Wholesale gasoline was flat at $3.04 a gallon. Natural gas rose 1 cent to $4.57 per 1,000 cubic feet. Heating oil lost 1 cent to $2.98 a gallon.

Lower gasoline prices kept inflation in check in March

Lower U.S. gasoline prices kept consumer inflation in check last month, helping to offset higher costs for food and clothing.

The Labor Department said Tuesday that the consumer price index rose 0.2 percent in March, after scant 0.1 percent increases in the previous two months. Prices have risen just 1.5 percent year over year. That remains well below the Federal Reserve’s 2 percent target for inflation.

Excluding the volatile food and energy categories, core prices increased 0.2 percent in March and 1.7 percent in the past year.

Prices at the gas pump tumbled 1.7 percent in March, lowering costs for the overall energy category.

Homebuilder confidence stays low for third month

U.S. homebuilders’ confidence in the housing market rose modestly in April but remained at low levels for the third straight month, constrained by tight credit for home buyers and a shortage of workers and available land.

The National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo builder sentiment index, which measures confidence in the single-family home market, edged up to 47 in April from 46 in March, the homebuilders group reported Tuesday.

Readings below 50 mean builders view sales conditions as poor. The index had been above 50 from June through January. Builders recently have complained that they can’t find enough workers or lots to build on.

15-year first for Coca Cola: Global sales fell in quarter

Coca-Cola, the world’s biggest beverage maker, said Tuesday that the amount of soda it sold globally fell for first time in 15 years.

The drop in the first quarter was offset by stronger sales of its noncarbonated drinks that include Minute Maid, Powerade and Dasani bottled water. Overall volume rose 2 percent, an improvement from the 1 percent increase the previous quarter.

But the 1 percent decline in global soda volume is notable for Coca-Cola: The last time the figure fell was in 1999.