NEW YORK (January 17, 2013)-- Stocks closed higher, pushing the Standard & Poor's 500 index to another five-year high, after strong reports on housing starts and unemployment claims boosted investors’ optimism about the U.S. economy.
The S&P 500 gained eight points to close at 1,480 Thursday, its highest level since December 2007.
The Dow Jones industrial average also rose, gaining 84 points to close at 13,596.
The Nasdaq composite rose 18 points to end the day at 3,136.
U.S. builders started work on homes in December at the fastest pace since the summer of 2008.
The number of Americans seeking unemployment benefits fell to a five-year low last week.
EBay rose after reporting higher earnings.
Rising stocks outnumbered falling ones three to one on the New York Stock Exchange where volume was average, 3.7 billion shares.