HOUSING BOOSTS: Stocks rose Wednesday after a pair of encouraging reports about the U.S. housing market. Home sales and construction of single-family homes in August both occurred at the fastest pace in more than two years.
JAPAN JOINS: Markets overseas closed higher after the Bank of Japan announced a massive asset purchasing plan similar to what the Federal Reserve approved last week. Japan's main stock index hit a four-month high.
FEARS REMAIN: The gains were limited because traders continue to worry about troubling news like railroad downgrades and a warning this week from Federal Express that the global economy is slowing.