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Stocks Manage Mild Gains on Strong Housing Data

The report said that building permits increased to an annual rate of 894,000 from a downwardly revised 801,000 in August. Economists were anticipating a September rate of 810,000.

The FTSE 100 in London was rose 0.69% and the DAX in Germany was up 0.25% after Moody's decided to keep Spain's credit rating at investment grade level.

The Nikkei Average in Tokyo closed higher by 1.21% on Wednesday and the Hang Seng in Hong Kong settled up 0.99% after Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda told his ministers to put together an economic stimulus plan.

November crude oil futures closed up 3 cents at $92.12 a barrel. December gold futures rose $6.70 to settle at $1,753 an ounce.

The benchmark 10-year Treasury fell sharply, down 30/32, pushing the yield higher to 1.827%. The dollar sank 0.22%, according to the dollar index.

Elsewhere in corporate news, power and hand tools company Stanley Black & Decker (SWK) posted lower-than-expected third-quarter profit, citing challenges in Europe, while remaining optimistic about the U.S. and Asia. Shares surrendered 4.4%.

CSX (CSX) shares fell 2% after the rail-based transportation services company posted third-quarter revenue that came in short of expectations.

ASML (ASML), the biggest supplier of equipment to semiconductor manufacturers, offered to buy Cymer (CYMI) for about $2.55 billion in cash and stock. ASMl shares fell 6.5%. Cymer shares rose more than 49.4%.

Shares of Apollo Group (APOL) plunged 22.2% after the for-profit education company fell short of revenue views for its latest quarter and announced a massive restructuring on Tuesday.

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