November 25, 2009 / 4:58 PM / 9 years ago

US STOCKS-Wall St rises after improved jobs, housing data

* Jobless claims down to lowest level in more than a year

* New home sales rise to one-year high

* Volatility index hits 15-month low

* Indexes up: Dow 0.3 pct, S&P 0.3 pct, Nasdaq 0.3 pct

* For up-to-the-minute market news, click [STXNEWS/US]

(Updates to midday, changes byline)

By Angela Moon

NEW YORK, Nov 25 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks edged up on Wednesday after data pointed to stabilizing labor and housing markets, considered two big headwinds slowing down a recovery.

Sales of newly built U.S. single-family homes rose to their highest level in a year in October. Also, consumer spending increased more than expected, while new claims for jobless benefits fell sharply, suggesting the recovery was gaining traction. For details, see [ID:nN25346193]

It “looks like people are spending again a little bit more, which is bad for the savings rate but good for the retailers and good for the economy,” said Todd Leone, head of listed trading at Cowen & Co New York.

The Dow Jones industrial average .DJI was up 33.64 points, or 0.32 percent, at 10,467.35. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index .SPX added 3.37 points, or 0.30 percent, at 1,109.02. The Nasdaq Composite Index .IXIC gained 7.45 points, or 0.34 percent, at 2,176.63.

The market also got a lift from a weaker U.S. dollar, which fell 0.7 percent to an almost 15-month low against a basket of currencies .DXY after U.S. Federal Reserve minutes showed policymakers saw the dollar’s recent decline as “orderly.” [ID:nGEE5AO19B]

As investors assess the strength of the recovery, they’re also questioning whether the S&P 500’s 22 percent rise this year still has legs.

The Chicago Board Options Exchange Volatility Index .VIX, a favorite pulse of investor sentiment, sank to its lowest intraday level in 15 months. The VIX dropped as low as 20.05 Wednesday.

Tiffany & Co (TIF.N) rose 4 percent to $43.49 after the luxury retailer reported third-quarter earnings that beat expectations and raised its full-year profit view. [ID:nN25324014]

Deere & Co (DE.N) gained 3 percent to $53.84, erasing earlier losses after the world’s largest maker of tractors and harvesters reported quarterly results. [ID:nN25342884].

Reporting by Angela Moon; editing by Jeffrey Benkoe

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