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Housing stocks tick higher on positive price news

NEW YORK (AP) -- A number of housing stocks edged higher Tuesday after a key home prices index posted its first year-over-year increase since 2010.

The Standard & Poor's/Case-Shiller home price index showed that prices in June gained 0.5 percent from a year earlier. The rise is the latest evidence that a modest recovery is under way in the housing market.

Investors responded positively but cautiously to the news.

The Standard & Poor's Composite 1500/Real Estate Index rose 36 cents to $146.58 per share in midday trading.

Housing retailers were among those on the rise. Lowe's Companies Inc. increased 25 cents, or about 1 percent, to $27.95 per share. The Home Depot Inc. was up 32 cents, or 0.6 percent, to $56.71.

Shares of homebuilders Hovnanian Enterprises Inc., Lennar Corp. and KB Home all moved up by just over 1 percent. Hovnanian rose 3 cents to $2.65, Lennar was up 39 cents to $32.40 and KB Home increased 11 cents to $10.87.

Materials companies also got a boost. Masco Corp. gained a nickel to $13.90. Armstrong World Industries Inc. gained 18 cents to $43.30. American Woodmark Corp. rose 4 cents to $19.92.