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Market Recap: Increase in Home Prices Drives Markets up

Business

Markets closed up today:

▲ Dow: +0.26 percent

▲ Nasdaq: +0.63 percent

▲ S&P: +0.48 percent

Precious metals:

▼ Gold: up -0.74 percent to $1,571.60 an ounce

▼ Silver: up -1.57 percent to settle at $27.06

Commodities:

▲ Oil: +0.03 percent

Markets were up because:

Homebuilders led stocks up on Tuesday, helping major indexes recoup some losses from the day before. Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. surged after the media conglomerate said it may split into two companies.

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 32.01 points to close at 12,534.67.

PulteGroup, Lennar and other housing stocks climbed following news that a measure of national home prices rose 1.3 percent in April, the first increase in seven months. The Standard & Poor's/Case-Shiller home price index showed a rise in 19 out of the 20 major cities tracked; Detroit was the only city where prices fell.

PulteGroup rose 49 cents to $9.72 and Lennar rose 81 cents to $27.39.

Specialist Christopher Trotta works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange Monday, June 25, 2012. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)

News Corp. jumped 8 percent. The company confirmed that it's contemplating a breakup into two publicly traded companies. The split would divide its publishing from its entertainment businesses. The media empire includes The Wall Street Journal, Fox News Channel, and newspapers in Britain and Australia. News Corp.'s stock leapt $1.68 to $21.76.

In other trading, the broader Standard & Poor's 500 index gained 6.27 points to 1,319.99. The Nasdaq composite rose 17.90 points to 2,854.06.

Investors sold coal company stocks after S&P lowered the credit rating for James River Coal deeper into junk status, citing weaker demand for coal. Utilities have favored natural gas instead of coal to generate electricity and are also preparing for new emission standards. James River plunged 15 percent, or 43 cents, to $2.49.

Alpha Natural Resources sank 20 cents, to $7.73. Peabody Energy dropped 34 cents to $21.12.

More worrisome developments in Europe kept U.S. markets in check. Spain's borrowing costs jumped in a pair of short-term debt auctions, the latest sign that investors are hesitant to lend the country money. The interest rate on the country's 3-month bills was 2.36 percent Tuesday, nearly triple the rate in the last such auction in May.

Spain's main stock index sank 1.5 percent, the second day straight of deep losses, and the yield on its benchmark 10-year government bond rose to 6.81 percent, which makes it more expensive for the country to borrow. The slump in Spanish financial markets came a day after the credit rating agency Moody's lowered ratings on 28 Spanish banks.

Markets have been battered by signs of withering economic growth around the world. Manufacturing has slowed in China, and hiring has weakened in the U.S. The Dow has taken its two largest daily losses of the year this month: a 250-point plunge June 21 and a 274-point one June 1.

Even with those losses, the Dow remains up 1.1 percent for June. The S&P 500 is up 0.7 percent.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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