Stocks Recover from Consumer Confidence Data-Induced Slump; Commodities Trending Higher

U.S. indexes turn positive as stocks recover from a mostly lower morning after data showed plummeting confidence among American consumers. Home price data provided some measure of relief, which sent homebuilder stocks higher through the first half of the regular session.

The Conference Board says its confidence gauge fell to 44.5 in August from 59.2 in July. Economists polled by MarketWatch expected the consumer confidence gauge to drop to 51.9.

According a statement from Lynn Franco, director of the Conference Board's consumer research center, "a contributing factor may have been the debt ceiling discussions since the decline in confidence was well underway before the S&P downgrade."

Meanwhile, home prices rose 1.1% in June from the previous month, but they have fallen 4.5% over the last year, according to the S&P/Case-Shiller home price index. Prices rose 3.6% in the April-through-June quarter over the first quarter of the year, MarketWatch noted in its report on the data.

Homebuilder stocks are bucking the broader market trend to trade higher. Here's a look at how they are performing:

KBH: +9.6%

PHM: +9.5%

DHI: +2.9%

LEN: +3.4%

TOL: +2.0%

In company news:

Shares of Exxon Mobil ( XOM ) are down after it announced a deal with Russian oil major Rosneft under which the companies plan to undertake joint exploration and development of hydrocarbon resources in Russia, the United States and other countries. The deal includes $3.2 billion exploration program for Kara Sea and Black Sea and the establishment of joint Arctic Research and Design Center for Offshore Development in St. Petersburg. There will also be joint operations to develop Western Siberia tight oil resources.

Barnes & Noble ( BKS ) shares are up after the bookseller reported its fiscal Q1 results. The company says its net loss per share was $0.99, compared to $1.12 per share last year. Analysts expected a loss of $0.94 per share. Sales were $1.42 billion, missing estimates of $1.46 billion. It provided a bullish outlook for Nook.

Shares of NuPathe ( PATH ) have plummeted to a new 52-week low of $2.25 after the company received a Complete Response Letter from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, which means that the company will not launch its migraine patch in the first half of 2012 as previously announced.

JPMorgan Chase ( JPM ) shares are down after Reuters reports that the bank and Kohlberg Kravits Roberts ( KKR ) are in talks to buy the financial services arm of India's Futures Group. The group has reportedly hired Morgan Stanley to run the sale process, reports say.

Shares of Bank of America (BAC) are down as several news outlets report that the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. has filed an objection with the State Supreme Court of New York over Bank of America's (BAC) proposed $8.5 billion settlement with mortgage bond holders, complicating the bank's efforts to put its mortgage problems behind it.

Commodities are higher as December gold contracts are up 2.07% to $1,828 an ounce while October crude oil contacts are up 1.82% to $88.86 a barrel.

In energy ETFs, the United States Oil Fund (USO) is up 1.38% to $34.43 and the United States Natural Gas fund (UNG) is up 0.52%, to $9.72.

In precious metal ETFs, the SPDR Gold Trust (GLD) is up 1.95% to $177.28. Market Vectors Gold Miners (GDX) is up 1.24% to $62.72. iShares Silver Trust (SLV) is up 1.06% to $40.14.

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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