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Nasdaq Leads Market Higher

The Mortgage Bankers Association's Market Composite Index, which measures mortgage loan-application volume , increased by a seasonally adjusted 0.5% last week.

The Energy Information Administration's weekly inventory report revealed better-than-expected supply levels in the week ended March 5. Crude stockpiles added 1.4 million barrels, which was lower than the 2.1-million barrel build that analysts polled by Platts had been expecting. Gasoline stocks lost 2.9 million barrels, and distillates shed 2.2 million barrels. Analysts had been looking for a decline of 338,000 barrels to gasoline stocks and distillates supplies that were lower by 950,000 barrels.

Late Tuesday, the American Petroleum Institute reported a build of 6.5 million barrels in crude inventories for the week ended March 5.

The dollar was trading lower against a basket of currencies, with the dollar index down by 0.2%.

In commodities markets, crude oil for April delivery settled at $82.09 a barrel after adding 60 cents, and the April gold contract lost $14.20 to settle at $1,108.10 an ounce.

Overseas, Hong Kong's Hang Seng was unchanged, and Japan's Nikkei slipped 0.04%. The FTSE in London rose 0.7%, and the DAX in Frankfurt gained 0.9%.

-- Written by Melinda Peer and Sung Moss in New York.

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