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Midday Update: Stocks Slip Into the Red on Disappointing Housing Data

Stocks were off their worst levels of Monday's session but still trading in the red when an unexpected dive in June home sales triggered a nearly triple-digit loss for the Dow Jones Industrial Average soon after the open, offsetting small pre-market gains associated with a pair of multi-billion dollar mergers.

Stocks also were continuing to trade defensively ahead of a a deluge of economic data this week as well as another Federal Open Markets Committee meeting. Geo-political concerns - including an end to the cease fire in Gaza and an intensifying Libyan civil war - also has been keeping the global markets in check.

In economic news, pending home sales fell 1.1% last month versus the market consensus for a modest 0.5% gain. In addition, May home sales were revised downward to 6.0% from 6.1% initially.

Other economic data included the PMI services index for July, last at 61.0 versus the consensus estimate of 59.8, and the Dallas Fed manufacturing index which rose to 12.7 in July, beating the consensus estimate of 12.0.

European markets were mixed at the close, giving up their modest overnight gains in sympathy with softer U.S. markets as well as new European sanctions against Russia which has investors worried about the fallout on the European economy.

Crude oil was down $0.92 to $101.17 per barrel. Natural gas was down $0.01 to $3.78 per 1 million BTU. Gold was up $0.80 to $1,304.10 an ounce, while silver was up $0.03 to $20.67 an ounce. Copper was up $0.01 to $3.25 per pound.

Among energy ETFs, the United States Oil Fund was down 0.56% to $37.56 with the United States Natural Gas Fund was down 0.77% to $20.67. Amongst precious-metal funds, the Market Vectors Gold Miners ETF was down 0.18% to 26.71 while SPDR Gold Shares were down 0.23% to $125.50. The iShares Silver Trust was down 0.65% to $19.74.

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

NYSE Composite Index down 23.50 (-0.21%) to 10,962.31

Dow Jones Industrial Average down 30.99 (-0.18%) to 16,929.58

S&P 500 down 4.56 (-0.23%) to 1,973.78

Nasdaq Composite Index down 8.24 (-0.41%) to 4,431.32

GLOBAL SENTIMENT

Nikkei 225 Index up 0.46%

Hang Seng Index up 0.88%

Shanghai China Composite Index up 2.41%

FTSE 100 Index down 0.05%

CAC 40 up 0.33%

DAX down 0.48%

NYSE SECTOR INDICES

NYSE Energy Sector Index down 2.73%

NYSE Financial Sector Index down 0.10%

NYSE Healthcare Sector Index down 0.26%

UPSIDE MOVERS

(+) FDO (+24.38%) Receives $9.2 billion buyout offer from Dollar Tree ( DLTR ).

(+) TRLA (+12.07%) Offered $3.5 billion from Zillow ( Z ).

(+) LOCO (+22.39%) Continues to advance after Friday's $15 IPO.

DOWNSIDE MOVERS

(-) ACRX (-39.98%) FDA asks for more data on Zalviso, downgraded by Canaccord.

(-) HZNP (-34.03%) CVS Caremark ( CVS ) and Express Scripts ( ESRX ) have placed its DUEXIS and VIMOVO products on their exclusion lists.

(-) CMP (-8.63%) Swings to Q2 loss, misses street views for adjusted profit, revenue.

(-) ENPH (-10.94%) Downgraded to Hold at Deutsche Bank.

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

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

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