Stocks move higher; Home builders gain


NEW YORK — The stock market is higher following encouraging news on the U.S. housing market.

Investors were keeping a watchful eye on developments in Ukraine after Russian President Vladimir Putin recognized the Ukrainean region of Crimea as an independent country.

Home builders rose after applications for permits to build homes rose 7.7 percent in February, more than analysts were expecting.

The Standard & Poor’s 500 index rose 10 points, or 0.5 percent, to 1,868 as of midday today.

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 81 points, or 0.5 percent, to 16,326. The Nasdaq composite rose 38 points, or 0.9 percent, to 4,318.

GameStop sank 5 percent following news that Wal-Mart plans to expand its video game trade-in program to its stores.

The yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell to 2.68 percent.