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Stocks edge up in early trading

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MATTHEW CRAFT | September 25, 2012 10:18 AM EST | AP

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NEW YORK — Encouraging reports on the housing market and consumer confidence gave the stock market a nudge in early Tuesday trading.

The closely watched Standard & Poor's/Case Shiller index of national house prices increased 1.2 percent in July compared with the same month in 2011. Prices rose from June in all 20 major cities tracked by the report. It's the third straight month that prices rose in every city.

A half-hour after the opening bell, the Dow Jones industrial average was up 52 points to 13,610. Home Depot led the 30 stocks in the Dow, gaining 1 percent. The Standard & Poor's 500 index added five points to 1,462.

The Conference Board said its gauge of consumer confidence shot to a seven-month high in September, trumping forecasts by a large margin. People surveyed said they were more optimistic about the job market.

In other trading, the Nasdaq composite index added 10 points to 3,170. Google's stock touched an all-time high in early trading, clearing $758.

Carnival Corp. jumped 3 percent after the cruise-ship company posted better earnings than analysts had expected Tuesday morning. Its stock rose $1.19 to $38.19.

All three major stock indexes have surged this month, buoyed by a new plan from the Federal Reserve to support the sluggish U.S. economy. Both the Dow and the S&P 500, the benchmark for most stock funds, have gained almost 4 percent.