Midday Update: Stocks Remain Weak on Home Sales, Caution Before Durable Goods

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Stocks Wednesday have erased most of their early losses that followed a huge miss on new home sales, although they remain slightly defensive despite upbeat earnings from Boeing ( BA ), Proctor and Gamble ( PG ) and Dow Chemical ( DOW ). Equities' inability to hold most of Tuesday's gain continues to plague trading today with investors hesitant before tomorrow's report on durable goods orders.

Today's economic data delivered bad news on both the housing market and manufacturing sector. The April manufacturing purchasing managers index fell to 55.4 missing the consensus estimate for a modest improvement to 56.0 from March's final read of 55.5.

This, however, was dwarfed by the 14.5% plummet in March new home sales to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 384,000, missing estimates for an increase of 3.4%. February sales were given a slight bump to 449,000 from 440,000 initially.

European equities closed lower in sympathy with their U.S. counterparts and bearish Chinese manufacturing data. While equities were supported early on by the market-friendly EU-zone PMI, which rose to 53.3 from 53.0 in February, the softer U.S. market infiltrated Europe's bourses and compromised early gains to profit-taking pressure.

Crude oil was down $2.68 to $101.69 per barrel. Natural gas was up $0.02 to $4.80 per 1 million BTU. Gold was up $2.60 to $1,283.60 an ounce, while silver was up $0.08 to $19.47 an ounce. Copper was up $0.01 to $3.04 per pound.

Among energy ETFs, the United States Oil Fund was up 0.05% to $37.02 with the United States Natural Gas Fund was up 0.34% to $26.49. Amongst precious-metal funds, the Market Vectors Gold Miners ETF was up 0.98% to 24.03 while SPDR Gold Shares are down 0.08% to $123.68. The iShares Silver Trust was down 0.11% to $18.69.

Here's where the markets stand at mid-day:

NYSE Composite Index down 10.86 (-0.10%) to 10,588.16

Dow Jones Industrial Average down 19.52 (-0.12%) to 16,494.85

S&P 500 down 2.85 (-0.15%) to 1,876.70

Nasdaq Composite Index down 25.77 (-0.62%) to 4,135.68

GLOBAL SENTIMENT

Nikkei 225 Index up 1.09%

Hang Seng Index down 0.97%

Shanghai China Composite Index down 0.26%

FTSE 100 Index down 0.11%

CAC 40 down 0.74%

DAX down 0.58%

NYSE SECTOR INDICES

NYSE Energy Sector Index up 0.40%

NYSE Financial Sector Index down 0.15%

NYSE Healthcare Sector Index down 0.14%

UPSIDE MOVERS

(+) RDEN (+10.34%) Korea's LG Household & Healthcare reportedly considering an offer.

(+) DPS (+4.71%) Q1 tops street and reaffirms inline FY 2014 EPS

(+) SVU (+2.37%) Returns to profit in Q4 vs prior year and beat analyst estimates.

DOWNSIDE MOVERS

(-) UIS (-11.44%) Reported a wider Q1 loss on lower revenue.

(-) FDML (-10.07%) Returns to profit in Q1 vs year ago but misses estimates.

(-) PLUG (-7.46%) Plans sales of shares.



The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of The NASDAQ OMX Group, Inc.

Copyright (C) 2014 MTNewswires.com. All rights reserved. Unauthorized reproduction is strictly prohibited.


This article appears in: Investing , Commodities

Referenced Stocks: BA , PG , DOW

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