(NEW YORK) -- The stock market soared on strong quarterly earnings from U.S. corporations and optimism that a deal to avoid the so-called fiscal cliff can be reached before Jan. 1.
The Dow picked up 208 points to close at 12,796. The tech-heavy Nasdaq closed at 2,916.07, up 63 points, fueled by a surge in Apple shares. The S&P closed at 1,386.89, up 27 points.
Home improvement company Lowe's said its third-quarter profit surged 76 percent. That follows a quarterly report from Home Depot last week which raised its outlook for the year.
Sales of previously owned homes rose solidly in October -- up 2.1 percent, helped by improvement in the job market and record-low mortgage rates. The increase, along with a jump in homebuilder confidence this month, suggests the housing market continues to recover.
Confidence among U.S. homebuilders rose this month to its highest level in more than six years.
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