The S&P 500 edged higher in afternoon trading on Monday to hit its highest level since June 2008 as data showed continued improvement in the beaten-down U.S. housing market, adding to hopes for a strengthening economy.

The Dow Jones industrial average <.DJI> gained 28.19 points, or 0.22 percent, to 13,011.14. The S&P 500 Index <.INX> rose 3.64 points, or 0.27 percent, to 1,369.38. The Nasdaq Composite Index <.IXIC> added 8.06 points, or 0.27 percent, to 2,971.81.

The S&P hit a session high of 1,370.89, a fraction of a point above the 2011 high of 1,370.58 and the highest since June 6, 2008.

(Reporting by Rodrigo Campos)