Gain in home prices lifts stocks; S&P near high

Big increase in home prices sends stocks higher on Wall Street; S&P 500 approaches record high

Associated Press
S&P nears record as home price surge lifts stocks
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Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange Tuesday, March 19, 2013. European markets steadied Tuesday March 26, 2013, a day after they were roiled by a suggestion from a leading European finance official that the Cyprus bailout was a model for the future. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)

NEW YORK (AP) -- The Standard & Poor's 500 index closed within a point of its all-time high after another strong report on housing encouraged investors to buy stocks.

The S&P 500 gained 12 points, or 0.8 percent, to 1,563 Tuesday. It's a point away from the record high reached in October 2007.

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 111 points, or 0.8 percent, to close at 14,559. It was the biggest gain in three weeks.

The Nasdaq composite rose 17 points, 0.5 percent, to 3,252.

Housing prices rose in January at the fastest pace since summer 2006, before the housing bubble burst. The Standard & Poor's/Case-Shiller index climbed 8.1 percent.

Two stocks rose for every one that fell on the New York Stock Exchange. Volume was lighter than usual, 2.8 billion shares.

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