Housing, banking news drives market up

May 18, 2009 @ 4:26 pm

By Rick Baert, Pensions & Investments

Stocks started the week strong today as upbeat news on housing and banking helped boost the Dow Jones industrial average up more than 200 points.

The Dow closed up 235.44, or 2.85%, at 8,504.08; the S&P 500 rose 26.83, or 3.04%, closing at 909.71; and the Nasdaq composite was up 52.22, or 3.11%, to close at 1,732.36. All numbers are preliminary.

The National Association of Home Builders’ housing market index rose for the second month in a row in May, reaching its highest level in eight months, reflecting growing optimism among builders.

Banking shares were buoyed by State Street Corp.’s announcement that it would issue a stock offering to help it repay a $2 billion government loan that came as part of the financial rescue program last fall.

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