NEW YORK (AP) -- Stocks are closing sharply higher for a second day as evidence mounts that the housing market is making a comeback.
The Dow Jones industrial average jumped 175 points to 14,075 Wednesday, its highest close of the year.
It's up nearly 300 points over the past two days, putting it within 100 points of its record high reached in October 2007.
Home builder stocks surged as more positive news about housing rolled in. Hovnanian soared 5 percent to $6.06 and Lennar rose 2 percent to $38.94.
A realty group said the number of Americans who signed contracts to buy homes jumped in January to the highest level in almost three years.
Three stocks rose for every one that fell on the New York Stock Exchange. Volume was low, 3.4 billion shares.