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NEW YORK, Feb 19 AFP

February 20 2013, 01:48AM

US stocks inched higher early on Tuesday as the market awaited a report on homebuilder sentiment.

Five minutes into trade, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 5.45 points (0.04 per cent) to 13,987.21.

The broad-based S&P 500 rose 1.95 points (0.13 per cent) to 1,521.74, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite increased 5.43 (0.17 per cent) to 3,197.46.

The action came as the market awaited the NAHB Housing Market Index for February.

Early trading was buoyed by a positive report on investor sentiment from Germany and by speculation of additional mergers. According to media reports, Office Depot and OfficeMax are exploring an all-stock merger.