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Housing reports lift U.S. stocks

By Daniel Wagner

Associated Press

Published: Wednesday, Sept. 19 2012 11:35 p.m. MDT

FILE - In this Sept. 12, 2012 file photo, Michael O'Connor, right, of Getco Securities and a fellow trader work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange in New York. Futures are edging higher Wednesday, Sept. 19, ahead of a pair of reports regarding the U.S. housing market that are expected to provide more hope for the beleaguered industry. (AP Photo/Henny Ray Abrams, File)

Associated Press

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A pair of encouraging reports about the housing market gave U.S. stocks a little boost Wednesday.

Home sales jumped to the highest level in more than two years in August, the National Association of Realtors said. Sales rose 7.8 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.82 million, the most since May 2010.

Earlier, the government reported that construction of single-family homes in August also was the fastest in more than two years.

Stocks of homebuilders, already up after the construction report, rose sharply after 10 a.m., when the jump in home sales was reported. D.R. Horton Inc. rose 87 cents, or 4.1 percent, to $22.22; Beazer Homes USA Inc. rose 22 cents, or 6.2 percent, to $3.75; and KB Home rose 46 cents, or 3.6 percent, to $13.16.

The gains for broader stock indexes were muted. At its high for the day, the Dow Jones industrial average was up just 62 points.

The Dow closed up 13.32 points, or 0.1 percent, at 13,577.96. The Dow is just a 4 percent rally shy of its all-time high of 14,164, reached Oct. 9, 2007.

The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose 1.73 points, or 0.1 percent, to 1,461.05.

Energy stocks suffered as the price of oil fell $3.31, or 3.5 percent, to $91.98 per barrel.

The Nasdaq composite index rose 4.82 points, or 0.2 percent, to 3,182.62.

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