Street Continues Rally, Dow Near All-Time Closing High

U.S. stocks rose for a third straight day Wednesday as data showing a surprising gain in August new home sales fueled optimism that a slowdown in the housing market won't be severe enough to hurt corporate profit growth.

Based on the latest available data, the Dow Jones industrial average gained 19.85 points, or 0.17 percent, to end unofficially at 11,689.24. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index inched up just 0.25 of a point, or 0.02 percent, for an unofficial finish at 1,336.59. The Nasdaq Composite Index gained 2.05 points, or 0.09 percent, unofficially ending at 2,263.39.

During the session the Dow Jones industrial average ran up close to its Jan. 14, 2000, all-time closing high of 11,722.98, while the S&P 500 Index hit a fresh 5-1/2-year high.

But with crude oil prices rebounding late in the session and Federal Reserve Governor Randall Kroszner saying inflation pressures remained a worry for the U.S. economy, stocks pared back most of their early advance toward the close.

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