Encouraging reports about housing lift stocks

NEW YORK (AP) - U.S. stocks are closing higher after a pair of encouraging reports about the housing market.

The National Association of Realtors said Wednesday that home sales rose in August to the highest level since May 2010. The government says construction of single-family homes also jumped to the fastest pace in more than two years.

Stocks overseas rose after the Bank of Japan announced a stimulus plan similar to what the Federal Reserve approved last week.

The Dow Jones industrial average finished up 13 points at 13,577. The S&P 500 closed up two at 1,461. The Nasdaq closed up five at 3,182.

About four stocks rose for every three that fell on the New York Stock Exchange. Volume was average at 3.36 billion shares.

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