Stocks are rising sharply for a second day as evidence mounts that the U.S. housing market is making a comeback and the broader economy has turned a corner.

The Dow jumped 175.24 points to 14,075.37 when markets closed at 4 p.m. eastern time.

That came after the National Association Realtors said the number of American's who signed contracts to buy homes rose to its highest level in 2.5 years in January.

Earlier in the day, official data showed that factory orders — a closely watched measure of long-term plans at businesses, rose 6.3 per cent to it's highest level since the end of 2011.

That was enough to light a fire under the Dow, pushing the benchmark U.S. stock index up 300 points over the past two days, putting it within 100 points of its record high of 14,164 reached in October 9th, 2007.

TSX also gains

Stocks in Canada also fared well, with the S&P/TSX composite index up 71.95 points at 12,732.39, held back by falling gold stocks, while the TSX Venture Exchange was 0.79 of a point lower at 1,131.12.

The Canadian dollar gained 0.32 of a cent to 97.75 cents U.S.

Railway stocks help push the industrial sector up 1.33 per cent with Canadian Pacific Railway ahead $4.18 to $124.91.

The telecom sector was up 1.28 per cent as Telus Corp. rose $1.45 to $70.67.

The energy sector was ahead 1.23 per cent as the April crude contract on the New York Mercantile Exchange gained 13 cents to $92.76 a barrel. Prices moved to positive territory after data for the week ending Feb. 22 showed a rise in inventories of 1.1 million barrels, much less than the build of 2.6 million barrels that analysts expected.

With files from The Canadian Press