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Stocks open higher as investors await Fed decision

Wednesday - 12/18/2013, 10:06am  ET

FILE - In this Monday, Dec. 16, 2013, file photo, specialists Paul Cosentino, left, and Michael Shearin work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. (AP Photo/Richard Drew, File)

The Associated Press

NEW YORK (AP) -- Stocks are edging higher in early trading as investors focus on whether the Federal Reserve will start dialing back its stimulus.

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 35 points, or 0.3 percent, to 15,911 Wednesday. The Standard & Poor's 500 index was up two points, or 0.1 percent, at 1,783. The Nasdaq rose three points, or 0.1 percent, to 4,026.

Homebuilder stocks rose sharply after U.S. developers broke ground on homes at the fastest pace in more than five years, evidence that the housing recovery is speeding up.

That adds to recent good news on the economy: reports of a healthy housing sector and jobs market are boosting stocks. They are also raising the likelihood that the Fed reduces its bond-buying program, a driver of this year's surge in stocks.

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