(AP) NEW YORK – A surprisingly strong report on the housing market and the prospect of more cash for the International Monetary Fund to fight off a financial crisis powered stocks Wednesday to their highest close since last summer.

The Dow finished up 96.88, or 0.8%, at 12,578.95. The S&P 500 rose 14.37, or 1.1%, to 1,308.04. The Nasdaq composite index, which has outperformed the other two this year, rose 41.63 points, or 1.5%, to 2,769.71.

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