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US Stocks Rise; S&P Hits Another 5-year High

NEW YORK (AP) â¿¿ Stocks are opening higher on Wall Street, pushing the Standard and Poor's 500 to another five-year high.

Strong reports on housing starts and claims for unemployment benefits made investors more optimistic about the U.S. economy.

The S&P 500 rose three points to 1,476 shortly after the opening bell Thursday, its highest level since December 2007.

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 31 points to 13,542. The Nasdaq composite rose 11 points to 3,128.

U.S. builders started work on homes in December at the fastest pace since the summer of 2008. The number of Americans seeking unemployment aid fell to a five-year low last week.

EBay rose 3 percent after reporting a big earnings gain.

Citigroup fell 3 percent after its earnings missed Wall Street's forecasts by a wide margin.

Copyright 2011 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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