Dow up 32 as Wall St. cheers housing strength

Stocks rebound modestly after Monday's slump. A report sees home prices stabilizing in April. News Corp. shares jump after reports that the company will be split up. Crude oil rallies; gold moves lower. Best Buy climbs on buyout speculation.

By Charley Blaine Jun 26, 2012 12:43PM
Charley BlaineUpdated: 7:09 p.m. ET

A quiet rally for stocks looked like it might become something much stronger, but the gains faded at the close.

The rally was spurred in part by the April Standard & Poor's / Case-Shiller price index report saying home prices increased in April from March in 19 of 20 major markets. Housing stocks were higher as a result. The report offset a disappointing report on consumer confidence from The Conference Board. (AMZN) was up $5.54 to $225.61 on reports that a new version of its Kindle reader will come out on July 31.

News Corp. (NWSA) shares were up $1.68 to $21.76 after the company confirmed it's studying splitting into two companies: a broadcasting-entertainment giant and a publishing business that would include newspapers and book publishing. News Corp. owns Fox Broadcasting, Fox News and The Wall Street Journal.

Crude oil (-CL) rebounded in late-day trading to $79.36 a barrel in New York. Brent crude and natural gas also were higher because of a heat wave hitting the South and western plains. Gold (-GC) dropped in New York. At the same time, corn jumped 30 cents, or 3.2%, to $6.24 a bushel because of worries about the heat wave and drought in the Midwest. Corn (-ZC) has jumped 13.5% this week alone. Wheat (-ZW) is up 8.3% this week. 

The Dow Jones industrials ($INDU) were up as many as 74 points at 3:20 p.m. ET. But the gain faded in the last 40 minutes of trading, and the blue-chip index finished up 32 points to 12,535. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index ($INX) gained 6 points to 1,320, and the Nasdaq Composite Index ($COMPX) rose18 points to 2,854.

Article continues below.
The Nasdaq-100 Index ($NDX) climbed 16 points to 2,550, thanks in part to gains in, News Corp., Microsoft (MSFT) and Oracle (ORCL). (Microsoft publishes MSN Money.)

Apple (AAPL), which exerts the largest influence on the Nasdaq-100, rebounded from morning losses and closed up $1.26 to $572.03.

Consumer discretionary stocks were the market's strongest sector, followed by energy and financial stocks. All 10 sectors were higher. The weakest was industrial stocks. Health care stocks were mostly higher.

Among the discretionary stocks moving up were housing and such stocks as Best Buy (BBY), Whole Foods Market (WFM), Staples (SPLS), Nordstrom (JWN) and Fossil (FOSL).

Best Buy was up 86 cents to $19.37. The stock reached $21.59 on reports that founder Richard Schulze might try to take the company private and hired Credit Suisse to advise him. But to call a special shareholders meeting to discuss change in control of the company requires an investor owning 25% of the common shares. The stock dropped back at the close.

Apollo Group (APOL), operator of the University of Phoenix college system, was the leader of the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq-100 after reporting better-than-expected profits late Monday.  Shares were up $3.34 to $35.81.

The week's big drama will come Thursday when European leaders hold an economic summit in Brussels and the Supreme Court issues its ruling on the health care reform law's constitutionality. In addition, the government will issues reports on jobless claims and the last revision to first-quarter gross domestic product.

Nike (NKE) and Research In Motion (RIMM) will report after Thursday's close.

Energy prices -- New York close



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Housing shows signs of stabilizing
The S&P/Case-Shiller Index showed prices rising 1.3% from March to April, the first gain after seven months of declines. Prices were still down 2% from a year ago.

But the month over month gain was new and different. Nineteen of 20 markets showed month-over-month gains. Only Detroit was negative.

"It has been a long time since we enjoyed such broadbased gains," said David Blitzer, chairman of the Index Committee, which manages the report.

The report seems to buttress reports of stabilization around the country. New-home sales in May were better than expected. How long the home-price rally can last is debatable. Capital Research, the global economic consulting firm, believes a large supply of foreclosed homes will come up for sale, putting a lid on prices.

PulteGroup (PHM) was up 49 cents to $9.72. D.R. Horton (DHI) added 58 cents to $16.87. Ryland (RYL) added 91 cents to $24.21. The Philadelphia Housing Sector Index ($HGX) rose 3.21 to 125.69.

Consumer confidence slides
The Conference Board's index of consumer attitudes fell to 62.0 from a downwardly revised 64.4 in May, falling short of economists' expectations. It was the lowest level since January.

While consumers' assessment of their current situation improved, they were less upbeat about their expectations for the next six months. Fewer respondents expected business conditions or employment would improve in the coming months.

"It's the future they're more scared about, and I can't say I disagree with that concern given European problems, fiscal cliffs and all the various challenges that will present over the next six months," Eric Lascelles, chief economist at RBC Global Asset Management in Toronto, told Reuters.

But Ian Shepherdson of High Frequency Economics thinks a strong stock market since early June and falling gasoline prices, both heavy influence on the index, will improve confidence levels.

Europe to discuss a banking union

Euro-zone countries should transfer oversight of their banks to a European supervisor, possibly the European Central Bank, a new proposal suggested today.

In return, the eurozone's bailout fund would help insure deposits and wind down failing lenders. The hope would be to prevent full-scale runs on banks in, say, Greece, Italy, Spain Portugal and Ireland. Greece and Spain have both experienced large deposit outflows, with the money migrating to banks in Germany and the Netherlands, which are perceived to be financially stronger.

The proposal came in a report that will be debated at their summit Thursday. It came as markets in Europe were closing. 

Sixteen of the 30 Dow stocks were higher, led by Chevron (CVX), General Electric (GE) and Exxon Mobil (XOM). Kraft Foods (KFT) and Hewlett-Packard (HPQ) were the laggards.

A total of 338 S&P 500 stocks were higher, led by Apollo Group and News Corp. Frontier Communications (FTR) and Harley Davidson (HOG) were the laggards.

Seventy-one Nasdaq-100 stocks were higher, led by News Corp. and Cisco Systems and Cognizant Technology Solutions (CTSH) were the laggards.

Crude oil and gold move lower
Crude oil was up 15 cents to $79.36 a barrel in New York. Brent crude had gained $1.99 to $93 a barrel.

The national average price of gasoline fell to $3.397 from Monday's $3.411, according to AAA's Daily Fuel Gauge Report. That's the lowest price since Jan. 27. The price is down 15.8% from the early April peak of $3.936 a gallon.

Gold dropped $13.50 to $1,574.90 an ounce. Silver (-SI) was off 48.2 cents to $27.038 an ounce. Copper (-HG) slipped 0.3 cents to $3.313 a pound.

Interest rates were higher, with the 10-year Treasury yield rising to 1.628% from Monday's 1.608%.

The dollar was higher against the euro but lower against most other currencies.

Short hits from the markets -- New York close



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Jun 26, 2012 4:39PM
We need more stimulus......
It's a slow day in the small town of Pumphandle and the streets are deserted. Times are tough, everybody is in debt, and everybody is living
on credit.

A tourist visiting the area drives through town, stops at the motel, and lays a $100 bill on the desk saying he wants to inspect the rooms
upstairs to pick one for the night.

As soon as he walks upstairs, the motel owner grabs the bill and runsnext door to pay his debt to the butcher.

(Stay with this.....and pay attention)

The butcher takes the $100 and runs down the street to retire his debt to the pig farmer.

The pig farmer takes the $100 and heads off to pay his bill to his supplier, the Co-op.

The guy at the Co-op takes the $100 and runs to pay his debt to the local prostitute, who has also been facing hard times and has had to offer her
"services" on credit.

The hooker rushes to the hotel and pays off her room bill with the hotel Owner.

(Almost done...keep reading)

The hotel proprietor then places the $100 back on the counter so the traveler will not suspect anything.

At that moment the traveler comes down the stairs, states that the rooms are not satisfactory, picks up the $100 bill and leaves.

No one produced anything. No one earned anything. However, the whole town now thinks that they are out of debt and there is a false atmosphere of optimism and glee.
And that, my friends, is how a "stimulus package" works!
Jun 26, 2012 1:20PM
Funny how so called economists cannot seem to corellate gas prices shooting up over $3.50 a gallon and usually 1 month later, a drop in consumer confidence.
Jun 26, 2012 3:28PM
You want the economy to improve?  Vote Obama out in November!
Jun 26, 2012 3:09PM
1.  the financial market has just as many good people in it as any other industry
2. most smart people go to an industry that is strong
your right...Madoff, Ebbers, Skilling, Paulsen, Dimon, Greeenspan, Flankstein, Raj, Corzine...the list of exemplary fellow Americans is endless....
Jun 26, 2012 4:35PM
Blame it on Bush.  He "Obama", had 3.5 years to improve the economy and he accomplished nothing,but create more economic problems for the USA.  Its time we get rid of Obama and his non economy policies which are job destructions!. 
Jun 26, 2012 1:56PM
Too bad we don't have several thousand people working on that pipeline, buying American made tools and materials to construct it, etc. But, we need nesting ground for the yellow bellied buttsniffer more than jobs. 
Jun 26, 2012 4:03PM
Obama is acting like a dicator more] each day. Is it he wants to be KING?
Jun 26, 2012 5:23PM
I love my Country and what it stands for, that is why Obama must go.  He has done more harm than anyother president in the history of Amerrica. He represents the destruction of the USA!
Jun 26, 2012 2:04PM
hilery gave  $2,000,000,000.00    two Billion Dollars   to world fun  for 3rd world countries to be more green.  she pledged another  30 billion     Isnt that Wonderful    We need some more lib dems   Right?
Jun 26, 2012 5:05PM
name one good thing obumer has done to help the working man, i see everything for the lazy worthless pothead who wants a stay at home do nothing job of collecting government checks don't say obama care either, thats a insult to every working person who works hard and has been paying for there own insurance
Jun 26, 2012 1:18PM
Can you imagine how much tax payer money its taking to get the stock market to move up a little?
Jun 26, 2012 1:47PM
What housing gains?  There were no housing gains reported today.  And, the new construction reported yesterday was due to people replacing their homes that were destroyed in all of the tornadoes over the last few months.
Jun 26, 2012 3:12PM
I truly believe there is still quite a bit of "shadow inventory".  I went to a Zillow type site and searched my area map and it looked like somebody shot it up with paint guns, there were so many red dots (foreclosures).........naw, I ain't buyin' it.
Jun 26, 2012 7:59PM

huh?? housing strenght? where is that, since mortgage forclosures are at record highs, nobody has a job, who the hell is paying that mortgage?? strenght?? oh u mean the actual structural integrity of an actual house, brick and mortar, oh in that case sure, housing strenght!!


in other news Chicago's crime rate is soaring to 53%, now let's see who's the mayor of that fair city, oh yea obama bitch rahm "I'm a littel ugly bug eyed insect" imanuel, nuff said!!

Jun 26, 2012 3:50PM

Stock prices are way, way, way overbought...............The economy we are experiencing is equal to the 1970's (really worse IMHO more like the 1950's) and where were stock prices and the cost living then?  If you actually take the time to study stock prices, you will find that they are overpriced by about 75%.  The Fed is and has been artificially inflating stock prices and our economy ever since 1999..............and as we can all see, 12 years later the world is in much worse shape.


Want this to end?  Stop playing the game.

Jun 26, 2012 3:59PM
Remeber folks figures don't lie but liers figure!!!
Jun 26, 2012 5:56PM
In Germany under Hitler it was the Jews that was the problem.  In the USA under Obama it is the 1%'ers that is the problem.  Is there a correlation?  He is out to divide us.
Jun 26, 2012 1:57PM
Modest gains on Brokers, Traders, Hedge Fund mgrs, Bankers, Financial Analysts, and any other Wall St clown hoping, begging, pleaing, down on their knees cowardly whining that their constituents...MEANING YOU!...are not going to abandon their industry. You see these people have kids, wives, debt, mistresses, homes, college funds etc. and they have an 'incentive' to rob you, 'Paul', to pay 'Peter' see, theyre a caring bunch...
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[BRIEFING.COM] The stock market welcomed the new trading week with a mixed session that saw relative strength among large-cap stocks, while high-beta names underperformed. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (+0.3%) and S&P 500 (-0.1%) finished near their flat lines, while the Nasdaq Composite and Russell 2000 both lost 1.1%.

Equities began the day on a cautious note amid continued concerns regarding the strength of the global economy. Over the weekend, China reported its first decline ... More


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