U.S. Stocks Fend Off Disappointing Jobs, Housing Data; Dow, S&P 500 Carve Out New Record Highs

Neither rain, nor sleet, nor bad economic data can stop the 2013 bull run, as U.S. stocks are trading up in slighlty range-bound fashion, with the Dow and S&P 500 continuing to make fresh all-time highs at mid-day.

Market participants have had a slew of economic data to digest this morning, including April housing starts, initial jobless claims and the consumer price index. Despite most of the numbers falling well short of expectations, early selling pressure has dissipated, with all three major U.S. equity indexes trading in the black at mid-day.

Prior to the market open, it was reported that construction on new U.S. homes dropped 16.5% in April to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 853,000. Economists polled by MarketWatch had expected construction starts in April to decline to a rate of 965,000 from a prior March estimate of 1.036 million.

Meanwhile, on the domestic labor front, the U.S. Labor Department reported that initial jobless claims climbed by 32,000 last week to 360,000. Economists surveyed by MarketWatch had expected claims to rise to 330,000 from a revised 328,000 in the prior week.

In addition, the Labor Department reported that the April consumer price index fell by a seasonally adjusted 0.4%, as lower energy costs offset an increase in food prices. Economists were expecting a 0.3% decline. Meanwhile, inflation over the past 12 months dipped 1.1% in April, its lowest level since November 2010.

Overseas, Asian markets ended mixed despite news that Japan's economy grew at an annual rate of 3.5% in the first three months of 2013. The expansion was much higher than the 2.7% increase expected by analysts. Meanwhile in Europe, bourses turned lower following the release of the disappointing U.S. economic data.

Commodities were mixed at mid-day. Oil was up $1.06 per barrel at $95.36, while natural gas continued to back off its recent bull run, down $0.132 at $3.938 per million BTUs.

Gold was down $11.40 per ounce at $1,384.30, while silver was dipping $0.043 at $22.615. Copper was up $0.035 at $3.30.

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

NYSE Composite down 14.50 (-0.15%) to 9,536.83

Dow Jones Industrial Average up 6.99 (+0.05%) to 15,282.68

S&P 500 down 0.28 (-0.02%) to 1,658.50

Nasdaq Composite Index up 9.91 (+0.28%) to 3,481.53


Nikkei 225 Index down 0.39%.

Hang Seng Index up 0.17%.

Shanghai China Composite Index up 1.22%.

FTSE 100 down 0.07%.

DAX down 0.02%.

CAC 40 down 0.018%.


NYSE Energy Sector Index (^NYE) up 15.84 (+0.12%) at 13,467.35

NYSE Financial Sector Index (^NYK) down 13.36 (-0.23%) to 5,918.63

NYSE Healthcare Sector Index (^NYP) down 46.40 (-0.49%) to 9,360.56


(+ ) RGDX (+16.1%) Stock jumped after company said it had entered into an agreement with health insurer Blue Shield of California to join all of Blue Shield of California's provider networks.

(+) EGLE (+55%, hit new 52-week high) Issue surges to a new 52-week high of $5.93 after the company reported Q1 earnings of $0.08 per share, versus the Capital IQ consensus of $2.05 loss per share, if comparable. Revenues were $72.2 million, versus the analyst estimate of $32.99 million. In the same period last year, the company reported EPS of $1.11 on revenues of $52.6 million.

(+) SCTY (+11.4%) Continued its ascent after the company announced a lease financing agreement with Goldman Sachs ( GS ) to fund more than $500 million in solar power projects. The financing makes it possible for homeowners, businesses, government and other non-profit organizations to install solar panels with no upfront cost. The agreement was initiated in 2012, and expanded at the end of April, according to SCTY.


(-) PP (-6.2%, hit new 52-week low) Shares continue to tumble after the company Wednesday issued estimates for Q3 showing a significant decline in earnings, touching a new 52-week low of $2.40. The company reported better-than-expected Q2 revenue of $1.50 billion versus estimates of $1.48 billion and earnings at an as expected $0.01 for Q2 2013. However, estimates for Q3 2013 are for revenue to fall to $1.46 billion and earnings to show a loss of $0.03 per share.

(-) NCT (-2.8%, hit new 52-week low) Stock plunges to new 52-week low of $5.55 after the company says the spin-off of New Residential Investment Corp. was successfully completed on May 15. Starting Thursday, New Residential will begin trading on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol NRZ.

(-) VVUS (- 3%) Issue slipped after it earlier priced its offering of $220 million of 4.50% convertible senior unsecured notes due May 1, 2020 in a private placement.

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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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