Housing starts hit a 4-year high, cheering investors. But the Dow and Nasdaq muster only small gains because of weakness in IBM and Intel. Apollo shares sag on earnings warning. Nike ends ties with Lance Armstrong. Oil, gold move up.
The major averages rise for the second straight day on guidance from Lennar and a strong pending-home-sales report. Facebook slips on mixed analyst ratings. Arena Pharmaceuticals soars after its new weight-loss drug wins an FDA OK.
But the Dow crawls back nearly to break even as the Federal Reserve extends a small stimulus move because of job growth and European worries. It promises more action if conditions worsen. Asian stocks drop on a weak China manufacturing report.
The week ahead starts with Apple's plans on what to do with its cash. It features earnings from Oracle, Nike, Lululemon, FedEx, Tiffany and General Mills. A host of housing reports may give stocks a push. Watch interest rates and oil prices.
The software and athletic equipment giants report earnings this week. Existing-home sales data since 2007 will be trimmed. Boeing will fuel a strong report on durable goods orders. North Korea's Kim Il Jong's death roils Asian markets.
The apparel retailer will shutter 189 stores by the end of 2013. While profits at home are getting squeezed, the company sees better opportunities abroad, especially in China.
Analysts don't foresee home prices returning to their 2007 levels until 2020, and that's the optimistic view.
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