Wall St closes at highest since mid-2008

NEW YORK - The benchmark S&P index closed at its highest level since mid-2008 on Monday, extending gains for a third session as oil prices retreated after recent sharp gains and data showed further improvement in the US housing market.   
The Dow Jones industrial average was down 1.44 points, or 0.01 percent, at 12,981.51. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index was up 1.90 points, or 0.14 percent, at 1,367.64. The Nasdaq Composite Index was up 2.41 points, or 0.08 percent, at 2,966.16.    
The S&P marked its highest close since June 2008.   
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