The National Association of Home Builders reported Thursday that housing starts tumbled to 893,000 in June from the prior month's 985,000. Fed Chief Janet Yellen told the Senate earlier this week that the housing sector has shown little recent progress, and today's report backs up those comments. Investors, though, exhaled after the Philadelphia Fed Survey reported that its business activity index popped to 23.9 in July from a previous month's reading of 17.8, and it easily beat economists' expectations of 16.9. The markets rose following the Philly Fed Survey, and were helped by the earlier data from the Labor Department that showed jobless claims for the week ending July 12 dropped to 302,000 and the four-week moving average dipped as well. TheStreet's Joe Deaux reports from New York.

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