Stocks slip after housing data, ahead of Fed minutes
July home sales show market strength. Investors hope central bank policymakers will hint at more stimulus. Japan's trade deficit heightens worries about a global slowdown. Dell warns of a tough second half.
Stocks remained lower Wednesday as global slowdown concerns once again took center stage after Japan reported weak economic data. As investors awaited the minutes from the Federal Reserve's most recent policy meeting, housing data continued to show improvement. Shares of Dell (DELL) were sliding after the company on Tuesday warned of a challenging second half.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average ($INDU) was down 59 points at 13,144. The S&P 500 ($INX) was down 4 points at 1,409. The Nasdaq Composite ($COMPX) was down 3 points at 3,064.
Asian markets ended lower after Japanese data showed the country's trade deficit widened more than expected in July as exports plunged.
European shares followed suit, and U.S. markets seemed on their way to join the global decline. As one of the largest exporters in the world, Japan reported numbers that could imply weaker global demand. Japan's trade data showed shipments to China and Europe plunged 12% and 25%, respectively, in July from a year earlier.
In Europe, equities were under further pressure ahead of several meetings between Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras and several European leaders. Greece will ask for some breathing room, making the case to extend the implementation of the country's austerity program by two years. If Greece doesn't get the support it needs to deal with its debt crisis it may have to leave the euro, destabilizing other eurozone countries and the currency.
In recent days, Europe has mostly gathered strength on hopes that the European Central Bank plans to implement a bond-buying plan in September to help the region out of its debt crisis. The plan, however, has been hyped, criticized and downplayed, leading markets along higher or lower.
But even as investors try to fully comprehend the meaning of the goings on in Europe and globally, they'll be waiting for the Fed's minutes.
At 2 p.m. ET, the Fed will release its notes from the latest Federal Open Market Committee meeting on July 31-Aug. 1.
Investors will pore over the minutes to get a better picture of the state of the U.S. economy and perhaps find hints as to the Fed's plan about the possibility of a third stimulus program, QE3. Many hope such a program will be unveiled at the Jackson Hole, Wyo., symposium on Aug. 31. Many doubt, however, the minutes will provide any clear signal to the Fed's intentions, especially given recent better-than-expected U.S. economic data.
Housing resales jump
Sales of existing homes rose 2.3% in July from the previous month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.47 million, the National Association of Realtors reported Wednesday. Economists expected a pace of 4.5 million. Sales rose 10.4% from the same month a year earlier. The median price of existing homes climbed 9.4% year on year to $187,300, and inventories rose 1.3% to 2.4 million units, representing 6.4 months of supply.
Also, weekly mortgage applications declined a sharp 7.4%, the Mortgage Bankers Association said. Applications for refinancing tumbled 9% as interest rates edged higher.
CBO warns of recession risk
The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office warned of a recession risk because of the "fiscal cliff." The CBO predicts that the U.S. economy will grow at a 2.1% pace in 2012. But if Congress fails to act to maintain current tax rates and avert deep cuts to federal spending, the U.S. would experience a recession, with unemployment rate jumping to about 9% in the second half of 2013 from its current 8.3%.
The CBO estimates the U.S. government will run a budget deficit of $1.1 trillion in fiscal 2012, or 7.3% of gross domestic product, slightly lower than the agency's March estimate.
Stocks to watch
Dell (DELL) shares slipped after the No. 2 U.S. PC maker beat analyst earnings estimates but warned of a challenging second half, slashing its full-year outlook. Customers, it said, cut back on computer purchases ahead of the launch of Microsoft's (MSFT) Windows 8 software. In general, though, Dell is struggling to compete with cheap Asian rivals and the adoption of tablets. (Microsoft owns and publishes Top Stocks, an MSN Money site.)
Hewlett Packard (HPQ), which is also due to report results after the close, saw its shares decline after Dell's results.
Luxury home builder Toll Bros. (TOL) earned 36 cents per share for its fiscal third quarter, double analyst estimates. Revenues also came in above consensus. "Housing is on the mend," executive chairman Robert Toll said. CEO Douglas Yearley added, "We believe the housing recovery is being driven by pent-up demand, very low interest rates and attractively priced homes." Yearley, however, explained that because the company is focused on the luxury market, it is facing less competition from other builders.
American Eagle Outfitters (AEO) shares rose after the retailer said it will meet or beat Wall Street's earnings target for the third quarter.
Williams-Sonoma (WSM) shares soared after the company reported results that beat Wall Street expectations. Meanwhile Express (EXPR) shares slipped after the retailer reported a 26% rise in profit, but cut its full-year earnings projection.
BHP Billiton (BHP) is postponing or scaling back projects together worth more than $50 billion, a reversal from a previously aggressive expansion strategy and a sign that the mining boom has ended, The Wall Street Journal reported. BHP Billton said annual net profit fell 35%.
Fifth Third Bancorp (FITB) approved a stock-buyback authorization for up to 100 million shares. In addition, Fifth Third's directors are likely to consider a dividend increase next month.
Apple (AAPL) and Samsung lawyers made their closing arguments Tuesday. Now it's up to the jurors, who have to answer 600 questions before they make a decision.
Tumbleweed the guy is only a moron...If he had a brain he would take it out and play with it....
Many are nothing but scumbags out of the GUTTER...
Others are highschool kids, that have probably been held back a couple years and are down in their Mommy's basement,trying to jerk your chain....
Takes them quite a while to post, because they have a grade school dictionary; Trying to look up big words so they sound important,educated,older or all knowing.
Just don't pay much mind to them...I don't.
Fatty Cakes......The footing is more important then the wall thickness, most contractors would probably know that ?? But, probably not Willard...
I'm guessing that different locals have different zoning regulations also; Don't think there are any FEDERAL STANDARDS covering 9' walls...?
If I lived in Hurricane country or sweltering Desert areas, I would want thicker walls also, basement or other wise...
Go Barack Go.....Take them to the mat or woodshed....Wahooooooooo!
Back later to smack all things commie , cretin and of course SAMBO , around !
Mr. Fat Cat.................................hehehehe.............................so too was Adolph Hitler, Hess and Goerbles--in public, as they were getting rich building themselves mountain retreats at the expense of a post WWI Germany that hid a Dictator with tax-exempt status and all the hypocrisy of his promises to Germany for a 1,000 year Reich that lasted 12-miserable years and cost the world, its innocents.
Well said Mr. Fat Cat. Hitler too was deposed just like any Tyrrant or Tyranny that stands against the Common Man. Anyone can put on a facade for the public. Just like how many Psychologists and Psychiatrists offer thier wisdom for sale whilst thier own homes are in crisis--how many seek to exorcise the demons of others, whilst thier own houses lay in evil turmoil?
How's your house looking Fat Cat? Hmmmmm???
Bumbleweedbutt says he is a builder (probably dog kennels). Let's find out.
Hey butthead how thick should a poured concrete 9' high basement wall be?
He won't know the answer!
Mitt knows everything!
I am NOT the famous Michael Moore by the way.
I worked on Wall Street and in Banking. I assure you I know exactly what I am writing and who my writings are aimed at............................those using the system against itself to destroy America by its own Rule Of Law. Too bad Eric Holder and the corrupt FBI are out of their league--it will cost Obama his re-election and bring slavery to America once again, except this time, you won't have to be a black or minority--it will be anyone without an Ivy League college degree or those who are deemed "undesirable" and economicly challenged--the Poor and Working Poor who voted themselves right into oblivion.
Mitt is a man of many virtues. He doesn't drink or smoke. He never has an unkind word for anyone. He is a hard working man whose efforts have made him very wealthy. He is an honest man both in business and his obligations to others. He and his lovely wife Anne have raised 5 sons who are successful men themselves.
This is a man who can lead America by example of a virtuous life and through his work ethic. He is the great white hope while Obama is a big black dope!
To avoid complete and utter global war and the final end of the human experiment...........
1. Destroy the G-20 and create a Corporation based on U.N like organizing intented to set global trade policies, enforce embargos and set banking regulations.
2. What is made in a country stays in that country for direct consumption. Global Trade should be restricted to only indiginous raw produce--percious metals, gems and stones should be monitored by a global consortium like OPEC. There is NO rule against Nike for instance, existing in every country it wants to sell its products, but it must manufacture them in that country if that country wants to consuem Nike products. This creates jobs for direct consumption and clarifies M-1, M-2 and M-3 indicies with easily trackable employment to consumption indicies.
3. End black box static trading along with Short Selling and the use of cross-trades for hedging--an end of for instance, buying Puts on one maket while selling Calls on another then using Bonds to gurantee stop losses. Commodities and Currencies markets should include drug testing of its Traders, Chair Holders and Brokers--on down to the Arb Clerks and Runners to rule out the Mob and Drug Dealer links to organized crime who educates thier future gang members through Harvard and other awesome universities, who go on to teach the Criminal how to collude and beat the street. In other words..........................a  NO TOLERANCE rule for organized criminal enterprises using Wall Street for money laundering via Mortgage Lending linked back to Lenders who used AIG to engage in an Insurance Scam. Junk Mortgages backed by Mob money created by stock options leveraged overseas by foreign banks in Switzerland, England and The Caimen Islands, who took points to lend back to the U.S banks, those "AIG Insured Loans" at Loan Shark rates--first the teaser rates then the hidden "Variable Rates" which destroyed the U.S Housing Market.
5. Follow the Money Rule--enact a law that simply allows the SEC to see a clear flow of money before allowing trades by CEOs and Major Bank executives. In other words, if I am a CEO and I opt for a miniscule salary with huge stock options and profit share that are unrealized income until I exercise those compensations, and I park them in the UK at Barclays for instance, and then Barclays allows me to leverage them (borrow against them) to underwrite Junk Mortgages knowing that AIG and the FDIC are insuring them.......................................then what is that called? A Pyramid Scheme and under RICO is also conspiracy to engage in a Criminal Enterprise. First, its' tax-evasion because it's using international law against itself in the creation of a pyramid scheme but then it's currency manipulation as well as LIBOR gouging and price fixing.
6. Thus...................restore Glass Steagal.
The longer the G-20 tries to mask and slowly write down its CDO and Synthetic CDO epidemic, the longer it will take to resolve anyone's currency destabilization. The numbers don't match up and LIBOR was just the tip of the iceberg as far as the corruption, theft, cheating and scheming depths really goes into the economy from within Wallstreet. Macro or Micro Economics indicies are ridiculously off if one looks at the truth--Unemployment in the U.S alone is really at 18-24%, based on those who fell off the cliff, work for cash as indentured slaves or have simply taken on part time and uder-reported jobs. Obama cannot be blamed for anything other than those he chose to surround himself, have elite ideologies and people who look like he does, don't fit into their wine and cheese gatherings in academic circles. Republicans used nepotism, collusion, and social-etitist communism to argue that Obama was a Socialist? What do you call the Republican Party? Who do you think Wall Street is owned by...........................Capitalists? LOL The top 18 Capitalists are engaged in mob-like Communism no different than Russian, Italian, Irish or Chinese mobsters.
The fact is, that so much money is undeclared due to the global mobs that launder their drug, thug and insider trading monies monies through banking and insurance rings linked right to U.S academics institutions where ex-graduates became Neo-Endowers. The corruption inside academics in the U.S and abroad is staggering. The nepotism to create jobs for future graduates is and has become the tail wagging the dogma of higher education--it is not education being learned, but rather, socialism from the nepotistic podium. Collusion amongst Republican Party Governors, Mayors, Congressmen and Senators is and was supposed to be illegal, and punishable by loss of citizenship. Yet both major parties collude off the floors of Congress and states cut deals all the time amongst and especially amongst State Attorney colluders. The States want to act like separate countries in defiance of the 14th Amendment, which would also erase the 13th and 9th Amendments as well which is part of the Republicans Southern answer to Poverty--arrests that leads to huge dollars for private prisons run by evil thugs in Florida who want to pay $.40 cents per-day to inmates to manufacture for companies who currently use them--a guitar manufacturer, a leather retailer in Texas and others........................................ Do your homework media, rather than just selling tv and radio and print ad time or space.
Copyright © 2014 Microsoft. All rights reserved.
Serious issues like drought and the deterioration of the developed world spell opportunity for this industry leader.
VIDEO ON MSN MONEY
Top Stocks provides analysis about the most noteworthy stocks in the market each day, combining some of the best content from around the MSN Money site and the rest of the Web.
Contributors include professional investors and journalists affiliated with MSN Money.
Follow us on Twitter @topstocksmsn.