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U.S. Stocks Advance as Housing Data Beat Economists’ Estimates

U.S. stocks climbed, giving the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index its biggest gain of the month, as better-than-estimated housing starts added to expectations the world’s largest economy will weather Europe’s debt crisis.

Homebuilders PulteGroup Inc. and Lennar Corp. rose more than 6.3 percent. Caterpillar Inc., Chevron Corp. and Bank of America Corp. rallied at least 3.7 percent, pacing gains among the biggest companies. Jefferies Group Inc. surged 23 percent as the investment bank reported profit that beat estimates. Sprint Nextel Corp. jumped 9.3 percent and Juniper Networks Inc. added