Stocks Hold Gains Despite New Data Showing Consumer Confidence, Home Prices Fell

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Stocks are holding gains at mid-day on a brighter global economic picture, despite a new round of data showing some pullback in purchasing by business and a dimmer outlook among US consumers. Adding to the mix was new data on US home prices showing a continued slide in the residential real estate market.

In today's slate of economic data, the Chicago PMI dropped sharply to a reading of 56.6% in May from April's 67.6%. Economists polled by MarketWatch had expected a reading of 60. Production, new orders and order backlogs also all dropped sharply, Marketwatch.com reports.

Meanwhile, the Conference Board's consumer-confidence index also fell to 60.8 in May from a revised 66.0 in April - the lowest reading in six months. Economists surveyed by MarketWatch had expected an increase to 67.5.


Also, the cost of single-family homes in the largest 20 US cities declined 0.2% from February to March, according to the S&P/Case-Shiller home price index. That was in line with economists' expectations.

In company news:

Shares of Affymax ( AFFY ) are higher after the drug maker and its partner, Takeda Pharmaceuticals, said Tuesday that they have asked regulators to approve a drug for anemia patients and have chronic kidney disease, according to a statement from the company. Peginesatide is a synthetic, PEGylated peptidic compound that binds to and activates the erythropoietin receptor and thus acts as an erythropoiesis stimulating agent ( ESA ). The agent is being co-developed by Affymax and Takeda.

Shares of Nokia (NOK) are sharply lower after the company said multiple factors are hurting its Devices & Services business in Q2 to a greater extent than previously expected. The factors include competitive dynamics and market trends across multiple price categories, particularly in China and Europe, pricing tactics and a product-mix shift towards devices with lower average selling prices and lower gross margins.

Optimer ( OPTR ) is up after it said late Friday the FDA approved the company's antibacterial drug DIFICID tablets to treat Clostridium difficile-associated diarrhea (CDAD) in adults 18 years of age and older.

Shares of Goldman Sachs (GS) are higher as Bloomberg reports the company may increase its return on equity by taking capital from the businersses that invest its own funds, citing an analyst from JPMorgan Chase (JPM). According to the report, analyst Kian Abouhossein boosted his recommendation on Goldman to Overweight” from Neutral.

FuelCell Energy ( FCEL ) today announced receiving a $129 mln order for 70 megawatts of fuel cell kits from South Korea's POSCO Power, it's largest order ever, according to a Reuters report. The company said it will deliver said kits every month for two years starting this October to POSCO Power, with 40% of the contract value to be paid in the same month as well.

Commodities are up as August gold contracts are up 0.02%, to $1538 an ounce while July crude oil contacts are up 1.53% to $102.11 a barrel.

In energy ETFs, the United States Oil Fund (USO) is up 1.61% to $40.35 and the United States Natural Gas fund (UNG) is up 2.52%, to $11.77.

In precious metal ETFs, the SPDR Gold Trust ( GLD ) is down 0.07% at $149.56. Market Vectors Gold Miners (GDX) is down 0.5% to $57.63. iShares Silver Trust (SLV) is up 0.51% to $37.22.



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.

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This article appears in: Investing , Commodities

Referenced Stocks: AFFY , ESA , FCEL , GLD , OPTR

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