Stocks Inch Higher after Housing News

July new home sales fell more than expected, echoing Wednesday's numbers on existing home sales. Apple announced a battery recall

Stocks finished modestly higher Thursday, as investors examined the second disappointing report on the housing market in as many days. The numbers suggested the Federal Reserve may be reluctant to raise interest rates again as the economy slows, with a speech due Friday from Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke, says Standard & Poor's Equity Research.

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