Stocks End Up, Nasdaq Gains 1.5% for Week

U.S. stocks closed higher in light trading on Friday, as investors weighed disappointing housing-market data against the possibility that the Federal Reserve may delay paring stimulus measures. The Dow Jones industrial average rose 46.77 points or 0.31 percent, to 15,010.51, the S&P 500 gained 6.54 points or 0.39 percent, to 1,663.50 and the Nasdaq Composite added 19.08 points or 0.52 percent, to 3,657.79. The Dow lost less than 1% for the week. The S&P 500 was up 0.5% for the week. The Nasdaq Composite gained 1.5% for the week.

Sales of new homes slumped in July with each region seeing sizeable drops, raising questions about the recovery in the housing market. New-home sales fell 13.4% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 394,000 in July, the lowest rate since October, the U.S. Department of Commerce reported Friday.

The Federal Reserve should concentrate its unconventional monetary stimulus on mortgage asset purchases, according to a new study released on Friday, ditching Treasury bond buys which the authors say have not had much of an effect.

BATS Global Markets, the third-largest U.S. stock exchange, is in advanced talks to merge with smaller rival Direct Edge Holdings LLC, the Wall Street Journal reported on Friday, citing sources familiar with the matter.

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