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Industrial and Housing Reports Push Stocks Higher

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Two very encouraging reports, including some much-needed good news about the housing market, helped the financial markets move higher Wednesday.

The Dow closed up 97 points, and the Nasdaq and S&P added 42 points and 14 points, respectively.

U.S. factory production is roaring back from the depths of the recession. The Federal Reserve says manufacturing increased nine-tenths of a percent in December, the biggest gain in a year.  Industrial output is now less than 5 percent below its pre-recession peak, reached in September of 2007.

Homebuilders are feeling a bit more optimistic, too. The National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo builder sentiment index has hit its highest level since June 2007, even though it's still in negative territory.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio 

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