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US stocks climbing ... Consumer prices unchanged in November ... Homebuilders a little less confident

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NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks are climbing in early trading as buyers return to a market that has been mostly beaten down in recent days. Investors are also picking up high-yield corporate bonds, which had been slumping over the last week. At 10:23 a.m. Eastern Time, the Dow was up 181 points, to 17,549. The S&P 500 climbed 23 points, to 2,045. And the Nasdaq was up 60 points, to 5,012.

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. consumer prices were unchanged in November, as declines in energy and food costs offset increases in airline fares and medical care. The Labor Department says the flat reading followed a modest 0.2 percent increase in October and outright declines in August and September. Over the past year, overall inflation has risen 0.5 percent while core inflation, which excludes food and energy, is up 2 percent. The modest 12-month gains could be used by the Federal Reserve as justification for the first interest rate hike in nearly a decade.

UNDATED (AP) — U.S. homebuilders are feeling slightly less confident about their sales prospects in coming months, though they remain positive overall that the housing market will continue to improve next year. The National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo builder sentiment index released today slipped to 61 this month, down one point from November. Readings above 50 indicate more builders view sales conditions as good, rather than poor. The index has been consistently above 60 since June.

WASHINGTON (AP) — An appeals court says it will leave intact a federal rule targeting mercury pollution while government officials decide how to account for its costs. Today's ruling from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit is a win for the Obama administration, which is working to quickly fix legal problems with the rule and reissue it by April. States and industry groups wanted to halt the plan.

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Former Subway pitchman Jared Fogle plans to file an appeal in the child porn and sex crime case that sent him to prison for more than 15 years. Fogle's attorney filed a notice to appeal yesterday in U.S. District Court in Indianapolis. Prosecutors say they cannot yet comment because they don't know Fogle's grounds for appeal. Fogle pleaded guilty to traveling to engage in illicit sexual conduct with a minor and distribution and receipt of child pornography.

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