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Stocks up for 7th day on housing, confidence data

Stocks up for 7th day on housing, confidence data

Major stock indexes extended gains into a seventh day following better readings on home prices and consumer confidence.
The reports Tuesday came in largely as expected, showing a continuing gradual improvement in the economy. The Conference Board said its index of consumer confidence rose to 52.9 in December from 49.5 in November. That was slightly better than the reading of 52 economists had forecast.
The index is still a long way from what is considered healthy. A reading of 90 or more signals a solid economy. However, the index has risen significantly from a historic low of 25.3 in February.
Earlier Tuesday, Standard & Poor's/Case-Shiller said its home price index rose for a fifth straight month in October, edging up 0.4 percent. The index was off 7.3 percent from October last year, roughly in line with expectations.
The index is now up 3.4 percent from its bottom in May, but still almost 30 percent below its peak in April 2006. Only 11 of the 20 cities tracked in the report showed gains.
Trading was quiet, as it has been in recent days, with fewer traders in the market. Many investors take vacation between the Christmas and New Year's holidays.
Even in light volume though, the market has managed to climb, adding to the big gains logged since stocks hit 12-year lows in March, amid improving economic data. The Standard & Poor's 500 index has posted gains for six straight days, rising 2.3 percent to reach a new high for the year.
"If you look at the day-to-day news coming out, it's been very positive," said Tim Speiss, chairman of Personal Wealth Advisors practice at Eisner LLP in New York.
In morning trading, the Dow Jones industrial average rose 30.53, or 0.3 percent, to 10,577.61. The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose 1.93, or 0.2 percent, to 1,129.71, while the Nasdaq composite index rose 0.68, or 0.03 percent, to 2,291.76.