NEW YORK, July 18 (UPI) -- Stocks on Wall Street moved higher Wednesday morning as the Commerce Department said housing construction starts rose in June.
Projects begun on privately-owned homes rose 6.9 percent over May, but building permits issued in the month dropped 3.7 percent.
Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said Tuesday the "recovery in the United States continues to be held back by a number of other headwinds," but he noted "the housing market has shown improvement," although it has been less palliative than in previous economic recoveries.
In midmorning trading Wednesday, the Dow Jones industrial average added 19.61 points, 0.15 percent, to 12,825.15. The Standard & Poor's 500 index added 3.59 points, 0.26 percent, to 1,367.26. The tech-heavy Nasdaq composite index gained 20.49 points, 0.7 percent, to 2,930.53.
The benchmark 10-year treasury note rose 6/32 to yield 1.488 percent.
The euro fell to $1.2261 from Tuesday's $1.2295. Against the yen, the dollar fell to 78.91 yen from 79.07 yen.
In Tokyo, the Nikkei 225 index lost 0.32 percent, 28.26, to 8,726.74.