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China data pulls up Dow and S&P 500

THE Dow and the Standard &amp; Poor&rsquo;s 500 index closed at 13-month highs last night as an upbeat forecast from a top homebuilder and data from China pointed to a strengthening global economy.<br /><br />The Dow&rsquo;s advance was its sixth straight as comments from top Federal Reserve officials suggesting low interest rates will stay for some time added to the positive tone.<br /><br />Luxury homebuilder <strong>Toll Brothers </strong>late Tuesday forecast revenue that was sharply higher than expected, lifting the Dow Jones homebuilders index 7.1 per cent. Toll jumped 16.4 per cent to $21.41.<br /><br />Data before the open showed Chinese factory output rose to a 19-month high in October. Investors bet the data heralded growing demand in the world&rsquo;s third-largest economy. <br /><br />&ldquo;There was fairly bullish news coming from China with respect to its industrial production, which has exerted upward pressure on commodities and commodity-related stocks,&rdquo; said Matt Kaufler, portfolio manager and equity analyst at Clover Capital Management.<br /><br />After the closing bell, shares of network equipment maker <strong>3Com</strong> rose 34 per cent to $7.64 after <strong>Hewlett-Packard</strong> said it agreed to buy 3Com for $2.7bn. <br /><br />The Dow Jones industrial average was up 44.29 points, or 0.43 per cent, at 10,291.26. The Standard &amp; Poor&rsquo;s 500 Index was up 5.50 points, or 0.50 per cent, at 1,098.51. <br /><br />The Nasdaq Composite Index was up 15.82 points, or 0.74 per cent, at 2,166.90.<br /><br />The Hewlett-Packard announcement could give investors reason to extend the stock market&rsquo;s gains.<br /><br />The technology sector is &ldquo;where the concentration of deal flow is, and it seems to me that might be supportive of the market at this juncture,&rdquo; Rob Stein, managing partner of Astor Asset Management, said.<br /><br />During the regular session, shares of <strong>Wal-Mart</strong>, up 1.3 per cent at $52.97, gave the biggest lift to the Dow, which recorded its longest winning streak since August.<br /><br />The Dow has risen 57 per cent from its 12-year closing low hit on March 9.<br /><br />Volume was light due to the Veterans Day holiday. Federal offices and the US bond market closed for the day.