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Stocks close higher on housing report, Putin speech

Traders work on the floor of the New

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange during the afternoon of March 17, 2014 in Manhattan. Stocks soared over 180 points a day after Crimea, a region in Ukraine, voted to secede and join Russia. Credit: Getty Images / Andrew Burton

Stocks rose Tuesday on encouraging news on housing and on hopes that the conflict between Russia and the West wouldn't escalate further after Russian President Vladimir Putin said his country won't take over other areas of Ukraine.

At the close on Wall Street, the Standard & Poor's 500 index had risen 0.72 percent to 1,872.25. The Dow Jones industrial average was up 88.97 points to 16,336.19. The Nasdaq composite climbed 1.25 percent, to 4,333.31.

The S&P 500 has gained 1.7 percent so far this week after dropping almost 2 percent last week. In a speech Tuesday, Putin told the Russian Parliament not to believe those who say that Russia will look to take over other areas of Ukraine.

"As long as Putin seems to be satisfied with what he has, that's the key," said Joe Quinlan, chief market strategist for U.S. Trust. "It gives the markets less to worry about in terms of an escalation of the crisis."

Stocks of home builders rose after the U.S. Commerce Department said applications for building permits reached their highest level in four months. Beazer Homes USA closed up 52 cents, at $20.57, and Ryland Group rose $1.23 to close at $41.40. --AP

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