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US stock indexes mostly higher in morning trading, extending market rally into a fourth day

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Major stock indexes edged mostly higher Monday but the gains were held back by discouraging data on U.S. home sales and a deepening slide in oil prices.

The market is coming off a big advance last week, which gave the Standard & Poor's 500 its second-biggest weekly gain this year.

PHOTO: FILE - This Aug. 9, 2011 file photo shows a Wall Street street sign near the New York Stock Exchange, in New York. U.S. stock indexes are opening mostly higher Monday, Dec. 22, 2014, as the market builds on its big gains from last week. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File)
FILE - This Aug. 9, 2011 file photo shows a Wall Street street sign near the New York Stock Exchange, in New York. U.S. stock indexes are opening mostly higher Monday, Dec. 22, 2014, as the market builds on its big gains from last week. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File)

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 78 points, or 0.4 percent, to 17,873 as of 11:45 a.m. Eastern. The S&P 500 was flat at 2,070. The Nasdaq composite rose a point to 4,766.

The price of oil fell $1.74 to $55.39 a barrel.

Homebuilders fell following a report that sales of previously occupied homes fell last month to the slowest pace in six months.

Bond prices fell. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note rose to 2.18 percent.

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