Adding to accumulating evidence of a meaningful revival in the U.S. housing sector, the number of construction permits applied for in February rose 4.6% to a nearly five-year high while housing starts increased 0.8%, the Commerce Department reported. "We're optimistic about the housing recovery. We'll continue to see construction pick up. Housing continues to be a bright spot for the economy," said Anika Khan, a senior economist at Wells Fargo Securities.

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