U.S. home prices may still be off from year-ago levels, but they climbed in July for a third consecutive month, evidence that a key segment of the U.S. economy may be on the mend.

Standard & Poor's said on Tuesday its 10-city S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Index declined 12.8% from year-ago levels and its 20-city composite index fell 13.3% in July from a year ago. In July, the 10-city composite index, which includes cities like Atlanta, Boston and Seattle, rose 1.7% to a reading of 155.85, while a gauge for prices in 20 cities rose 1.6% to 144.23.

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