Sales of new U.S. single-family homes fell more than expected and hit a five-month low in February, pointing to continued weakness in the housing market.
Separately, the Conference Board's Consumer Confidence Index rose to 82.3 in March, up sharply from February's 78.3 reading, showing greater confidence in the economic outlook.
The Commerce Department said on Tuesday that sales fell 3.3 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 440,000 units, the lowest level since last September. January's sales were revised down to a 455,000-unit pace from the previously reported 468,000-unit rate.
Economists polled by Reuters had forecast new home sales at a 445,000-unit pace in February. New home sales fell 1.1 percent compared with February 2013.
Last month's drop brought new home sales in line with other data such as home resales and building activity that have offered a downbeat picture of the housing market.