Stocks Extended Gains to Third Day

U.S. stocks closed with mild gains Tuesday, as the mere discussion of more economic stimulus from the Federal Reserve was enough to send the markets higher. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 20.7 points, or 0.18%, to 11,559.95. The S&P 500 added 2.84 points, or 0.23%, to 1,212.92. The Nasdaq Composite ended up 14.00 points, or 0.55%, to 2,576.11.

The central bank in early August discussed a range of unusual tools it could use to help the economy, with some officials pressing for bold new steps to help the economy. Before settling on a promise to keep rates near zero at least until mid-2013, the Fed examined an array of policy options to shore up a flagging recovery, including tying the path of interest rates to either unemployment or inflation.

President Barack Obama says his administration is considering seven new government regulations that would cost the economy more than $1 billion each a year, a tally Republicans will pounce on to argue that Congress needs the power to approve costly government rules.

Oil rose to near $89 per barrel Tuesday on expectations that supplies will be tighter in the wake of Hurricane Irene. Benchmark West Texas Intermediate crude rose $1.63 to finish at $88.90 per barrel in New York. Brent crude jumped $2.14 to end at $114.02 per barrel in London.

The lawsuits against Bank of America are piling up. The latest comes from U.S. Bancorp, which wants Bank of America Corp. to repurchase poorly-written mortgages sold by Countrywide Financial in 2005.

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