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Stocks inch higher after better news on US housing and consumers; Vertex Pharmaceuticals soars

NEW YORK, N.Y. - U.S. stock indexes are edging higher in midday trading following some encouraging news on the economy.

Homebuilder stocks rose sharply after the government reported that sales of new homes rose in May to the highest level in six years.

Investors were also encouraged by an increase in consumer confidence to the highest level since January 2008.

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 15 points, or 0.1 per cent, to 16,953 as of noon Eastern time.

The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose three points, or 0.2 per cent, to 1,967 and the Nasdaq composite rose 29 points, or 0.7 per cent, to 4,397.

Both the Dow and S&P 500 are flirting with record highs.

Bond prices rose. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell to 2.60 per cent.

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