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The Markets Now: Stocks Pare Losses After Weak Home Sales Report

By: Minyanville
Posted: 4/22/2013 1:00:00 PM
Referenced Stocks: CLF;GE;HAL;MSFT

Stocks are little changed today after existing home sales decreased month-over-month. The Dow (INDEXDJX:.DJI) decreased 0.14% to 14,526.51. The S&P 500 (INDEXSP:.INX) climbed 0.17% to 1,557.87, and the Nasdaq (INDEXNASDAQ:.IXIC) rose 0.54% to 3,223.35.

The Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago reported today that its National Activity Index fell to -0.23 in March from 0.76 in February. A negative reading indicates below average economic growth. The three-month moving average fell to -0.1 from 0.12 in February. Production related indicators made the only positive contribution to the index while the other three components pulled down the index. Read the full report here .

The National Association of Realtors reported today that existing-home sales decreased a monthly 0.6% from 4.95 million in February to a seasonally adjusted 4.92 million in March. Year-over-year, existing home sales increased increased 10.3% from 4.46 million in March 2012. Read the press release here .

The US Treasury announced today that it will offer $40 billion of 4-week Treasury bills tomorrow. The Treasury also reported today that it auctioned $32 billion worth of 3-month Treasury bills with a 0.050% rate with a 4.75 bid-to-cover ration and $28 billion worth of 6-month Treasury bills with a 0.085% rate with a 5.14 bid-to-cover ratio.

Apple (NASDAQ:AAPl) increased 1.42% to $396.08. Apple will report quarterly earnings tomorrow.

Halliburton ( HAL ) jumped 4.49% to $38.88. The company reported a $18 million first-quarter loss, or $0.02 per share, versus a profit $627 million, or $0.68 per share, in the prior-year quarter. The loss includes an after-tax charge of $637 million; excluding the charge, income from operations was $624 million, or $0.67 per share. Quarterly revenue increased to $6.97 billion from $6.87 billion in the prior-year quarter.

Microsoft ( MSFT ) rose 3.91% to $30.93. CNBC reported that activist fund ValueAct Capital Management has acquired a $2 billion stake in Microsoft.

General Electric ( GE ) fell 2.19% to $21.27. JPMorgan analysts cut their rating of the company from "Overweight" to "Neutral," saying the stock could no longer be called a "safety stock" because of slower industrial earnings.

Cliffs Natural Resources ( CLF ) decreased 1.51% to $17.36.

Twitter: @ChrisWitrak