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Stocks fell from 2009 highs after the Commerce Department said home building rose less than expected in September, a discouraging signal for future construction activity. The Dow Jones industrial average fell 50.71, or 0.5 percent, to 10,041.48.

The market will get another measure of the housing market's health Friday with a report on existing home sales. After several months of encouraging data on housing, investors have become disappointed in recent weeks with signs that a recovery in home building and home sales is starting to falter, which could bode poorly for the broader economy.

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Oil hits $80, then falls first time in a week

Oil futures closed lower for the first time in more than a week Tuesday, but only after passing $80 per barrel and pulling retail gasoline prices higher.

The impact of the U.S. currency became abundantly clear midmorning when crude prices fell by 1 percent as soon as the dollar went into positive territory against the euro.

Crude prices have risen swiftly this month, moving in the opposite direction of the dollar. When the dollar loses value, crude becomes very attractive as an investment. Crude is traded in dollars, so it essentially gets cheaper when the U.S. currency is weak.

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DOW 17,071.22 -41.93 -0.24%
S&P 500 1,977.80 -5.05 -0.25%
NASDAQ 4,505.8520 -6.3420 -0.14%

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