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23.06.2015 20:11 U.S. stocks closed

U.S. stocks rose, with the Standard & Poor's 500 Index near a record, as investors weighed economic data for clues on the timing of higher interest rates amid optimism that a deal on Greek aid is within reach.

The S&P 500 had its biggest weekly gain since April in the period ended Friday after the Federal Reserve signaled it won't be raising rates quickly as officials hold out for more decisive evidence of an economic rebound. Three rounds of Fed bond purchases and near-zero interest rates helped the benchmark more than triple during the six-year bull market.

Fed Governor Jerome Powell said today the chances are about 50-50 that the U.S. economy will improve enough for the central bank to raise interest rates in September, as the job market strengthens and signs of wage growth emerge.

A report Tuesday showed purchases of new homes increased more than forecast in May to the highest level in seven years. That added to data yesterday showing sales of previously owned homes climbed to their highest level since 2009, boosted by more first-time buyers.

A separate report today said orders for business equipment gained in May for just the second time this year. Orders for all durable goods declined 1.8 percent, reflecting a drop in the volatile aircraft category.

After talks on Monday, Greece now has 48 hours to bring a deal with its creditors to the finish line and end a five-month standoff over aid that risks default and possible exit from the euro. Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras needs to shore up support at home for his plan, while euro-area finance ministers meet Wednesday to prepare the ground for a second, scheduled summit of European Union leaders Thursday.

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