Wall Street wrote off weakness in the housing market and is
keeping equity prices little changed Wednesday on positive earnings
and a $690 million deal for jewelry retailer Zales (
). Stocks were under pressure after the Commerce Department said
housing starts tumbled 16% during January, although the data was
dismissed as weather-related with traders instead shifting their
focus on upbeat earnings and expectations minutes from the last
Federal Reserve meetings due out later today will discount recent
sluggish economic data as abnormally biased by the severe winter
Also today, the S&P 500 is flirting with its record high on
strength in energy stocks, while the Nasdaq Composite lags on
profit-taking after touching a new 13-year high on Tuesday.
January housing starts tumbled to a seasonally-adjusted annual
rate of 880,000, down 16.0% from an upwardly revised 1.048 mln in
December. Permits fell 5.0% to 937,000 from 991,000 in December,
revised upward from 986,000.
Also, producer prices were up a benign 0.2% last month, the
Labor Department said, while the core rate excluding energy and
food also rose 0.2% last month. The Street had been expecting a
rise of 0.1% and 0.2%, respectively.
European equities are slightly higher to unchanged, dropping
early selling pressure in concert with their U.S. counterparts.
Gains were limited, however, by an increase in the UK jobless
Crude oil was up $0.31 to $102.74 per barrel. Natural gas was up
$0.12 to $4.88 per 1 million BTU. Gold was down $5.10 to $1,319.00
an ounce, while silver was down $0.06 to $21.84 an ounce. Copper
was up $0.01 to $3.30 per pound.
Among energy ETFs, the United States Oil Fund was up 0.30% to
$36.79 with the United States Natural Gas Fund was up 3.13% to
$27.02. Amongst precious-metal funds, the Market Vectors Gold
Miners ETF was down 1.01% to 26.14 while SPDR Gold Shares was down
0.19% to $127.16. The iShares Silver Trust was down 0.57% to
Here's where the markets stand at mid-day:
NYSE Composite Index down 11.99 (-0.12%) to 10,307.13
Dow Jones Industrial Average down 28.19 (-0.17%) to
S&P 500 down 4.26 (-0.23%) to 1,836.50
Nasdaq Composite Index down 21.16 (-0.50%) to 4,251.62
Nikkei 225 Index down 0.52%
Hang Seng Index up 0.34%
Shanghai China Composite Index up 1.11%
FTSE 100 Index unchanged
CAC 40 up 0.24%
NYSE SECTOR INDICES NYSE
Energy Sector Index up 0.50%
NYSE Financial Sector Index down 0.45%
NYSE Healthcare Sector Index down 0.20%
(+) ZLC Signet Jewelers (
) makes $690 offer for Zales
(+) ZBRA Reports better than expected earnings and Q1
(+) UCTT Beat Q4 earnings estimates
(+) CRDS Filed a patent infringement lawsuit against Cisco (
), Quantum (
) and NetApp (
(-) GNK Entered into a limited waiver of default under the $100
million term loan facility.
(-) OAKS Priced a public offering of 3 million common shares at
a discounted $11.30/share
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