News Summary: Sales contracts for US homes edge up

TINY INCREASE: The National Association of Realtors said Thursday that its seasonally adjusted index of sales agreements rose in September to a reading of 99.5. That's up from August's reading of 99.2 but below a two-year high of 101.9 reached in July.

BIGGER YEARLY GAIN: The small increase suggests that sales of previously occupied homes may level off in the coming months, after solid gains in the past year.

SOLID TREND: The housing market has been recovering this year, helped by the lowest mortgage rates in decades, a limited supply of homes for sale and steady price increases. Most economists expect the improvement to continue.