Stocks move higher on home building, low inflation

NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. stocks were up at midday today, boosted by government reports of gains in home construction and low inflation.

Expectations that the Federal Reserve will keep in place programs meant to prop up the economy also drove the market higher.

The Dow Jones industrial average was up 110 points, or 0.7 percent, to 15,289 shortly after noon.

The Standard & Poor's 500 index edged up nine points, or 0.6 percent, to 1,648. All 10 industry groups in the index were higher, led by telecommunications.

The Commerce Department said that the pace of new home building was up in May, helped by more buyers coming to the market and a scarcity of houses for sale.

The Fed has had an outsized effect on the stock market in recent weeks, with major indexes getting yanked back and forth after Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke said May 22 that the central bank could pull back on its bond-buying program, which is meant to help the economy by driving investors into stocks and keeping interest rates low.

Fed policymakers began meeting today, but it won't be until Wednesday that they announce their latest decisions.

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