Stocks trend higher after housing, GDP data

Oil slips after a surprise rise in crude inventories. Second-quarter growth is revised up, but the pace remains slow. Pending home sales climb. The Fed's Beige Book is also on tap. WellPoint rises after its CEO resigns.

By Melly Alazraki Aug 29, 2012 9:18AM
stock marketUpdated at 1:04 p.m. ET

Stocks turned slightly higher after U.S. economic growth was revised higher and pending home sales rebounded in July. Oil prices slipped after a surprise increase in crude inventories. Mostly, investors await the Federal Reserve's Beige Book ahead of Friday's speech by Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average ($INDU) was up 17 points 13,120. The S&P 500 ($INX) was up 2 points at 1,412. The Nasdaq Composite ($COMPX) was up 3 points at 3,080.

On Tuesday, stocks once again lacked direction, trading in a narrow range at low volumes -- low even for this usually quiet summer period. Positive housing data and a disappointing consumer confidence index didn't move the needle much.

With Bernanke speaking at the end of the week at a Fed symposium at Jackson Hole, Wyo., investors mostly looked for signals regarding a potential third round of quantitative easing. While several policymakers favor a large-scale asset-purchasing program, others do not, pointing to more favorable U.S. economic data of late.

US economic data
The U.S. economy grew 1.7% in the second quarter, according to a revised Commerce Department estimate Wednesday. That was faster than the previous GDP growth estimate of 1.5%, showing the economy fared slightly better than originally thought, mostly the result of higher consumer spending and fewer imports than initially reported.

However, the faster pace of economic growth still isn't enough to hold the level of unemployment steady. The pace is still too slow to rule out the need for further easing.

Pending home sales climbed 2.4% in July, exceeding economists' projections. The National Association of Realtors said Wednesday that its index rose to 101.7, the highest since April 2010. The gauge reflects contracts but not closings. On Tuesday, the S&P/Case-Shiller index of home prices in 20 cities showed a rise in June from a year earlier, the first gain since September 2010

The Fed's Beige Book is scheduled for release at 2 p.m.

Europe awaits ECB action
European stocks traded lower Wednesday. European Central Bank President Mario Draghi on Tuesday said he will not attend the Fed meeting. His cancellation increased hopes that the ECB will announce at its meeting next week a bond-buying measure aimed at lowering the borrowing costs facing several European nations.

Germany's Bundesbank opposes the plan. But in an opinion piece published Wednesday in German weekly Die Zeit and aimed at calming German angst about the bank's policy course, Draghi said the ECB must employ "exceptional measures" at times to fulfill its mandate of delivering stable prices, Reuters reported.

Asian stocks ended mostly lower.
After oil gained Tuesday amid concern about Hurricane Isaac's impact on the Gulf of Mexico, oil futures slipped Wednesday as Isaac made landfall, missing oil platforms. Also weighing on crude was the American Petroleum Institute's weekly inventory report, which showed rising crude stockpiles. Another report released at 10:30 a.m. showed a surprise increase in inventories, further pushing oil prices down.

Stocks to watch
WellPoint (WLP) shares traded higher after the health insurer announced the resignation of CEO Angela Braly. John Cannon will serve as the interim president and CEO while the company looks for a permanent replacement.

Joy Global (JOY) reported at 12% increase in fiscal-third-quarter earnings as the mining equipment maker's revenue and margins improved, but bookings continued to decline. The company lowered its full-year earnings estimate and warned that it expects fiscal 2013 revenue to be flat or down slightly if current market conditions continue. 

H.J. Heinz (HNZ) reported a better-than-expected 14% rise in fiscal-first-quarter earnings as the company benefited from higher sales in emerging markets.

Eli Lilly (LLY) said it will stop developing an experimental schizophrenia drug after a recent analysis showed a late-stage trial on the drug was likely to fail.

General Motors (GM) plans to invest $1 billion over the next five years to expand car and component production in Russia.


Our government is run by commist agents GM bailed out costing us tens of billions of tax payer dollars I lose $17K in GM and now they are making jobs for Russians in Russia


It's time we pulled the plug on the 1 percenters who are taking our tax dollars and stealing them and giving other countries jobs that should be American jobs.


GM is evil.



MOSCOW (Reuters) - General Motors Co plans to invest $1 billion over the next five years to expand car and component production in Russia, one of the fastest-growing auto markets in the world, its head of international operations Tim Lee said.


Aug 29, 2012 10:20AM
GM Spending 1B in Russia.
How about they pay us back first.
Aug 29, 2012 9:42AM

scary report on TV just yesterday.  some 60% of the households give their kids an allowance.  $15 per week on average. 


fewer than 1% of these kids actually save anything according to their parents.  they simply spend it when out with their friends. 


add 20 years to this picture and what have you got? 


not a pretty future.

Aug 29, 2012 10:23AM
In the year 2040, on his 90th birthday, Bernanke will be seriously considering QE 500.
Aug 29, 2012 12:11PM
The next time you f'n liberals want to change America, give up your good jobs that you've worked at for EIGHTEEN TO TWENTY years and your health insurance.  Go on unemployment and try to find a job that pays you what you used to get paid.  THEN you can talk about change in America. Let's just see how you feel about it then. Welcome to MY world.  : /

They are going to tax the use of the internet ---


why not tax stock market transactions as most stocks are held for less than 1 sec on average this would generate trillions of dollars for the government.


at $10 a transaction the over 2 billion stock transactions would generate $20 billion a day times 365 or about $7 trillion a year.


More than enough to erase the deficit and build up a surplus so medicare and S.S. do not go bankrupt.


They tax us everytime we buy something


Why not the stock market?


It's a revenue stream that needs to be taxed.


It would mean saving our futures.

Aug 29, 2012 11:31AM
I'm going to see 2016 Obama's America. I'll bet there won't be any democratic voter registration people there like at the local bodega.
Aug 29, 2012 12:57PM
Oil prices slip.To late,the gas stations have used the hurricane to jack prices up.The biggest station I pass by everyday went up .32 cents in a day,think they'll drop 32 after the storm is over ?Oil can drop some more,but gas prices will stay high for a long time.
Aug 29, 2012 10:39AM
You want to know what a great Republican is about?

Read up on Teddy Roosevelt. He was a GREAT US president.

What happened to the old Republican ideas? And what happened to the true Democrats?

BIG MONEY bought our government.

Aug 29, 2012 10:35AM
Mitt's 1040's are available on-line in pdf format. Not sure what else you guys are still talking about.
He was required to release 2 years after he accepts the nomination. He's will except Thursday, but the returns are already out there.

How about we ask to see if his dog is ok too.
Aug 29, 2012 11:01AM
No Tumbleweed you said that. I am saying there are too many unanswered qouestions about him and his qualifications as president. Why is his social security # he is using XXX_XX-4425 Listed as being isseued in the state of Connecticut circa 1976-79 to a person born in 1890?
Aug 29, 2012 11:10AM
 General Motors Co plans to invest $1 billion over the next five years to expand car and component production in Russia, one of the fastest-growing auto markets in the world, its head of international operations Tim Lee said?

Just enter, you are correct !

Obama is going to let this happen?What a shock!
He is a communist so he is buttering his bread for his eminent departure.
Aug 29, 2012 10:16AM
LOL....seems UAW motors wants to invest 1 Billion in Russia...  I guess they rather invest in the workers paradise than the USA.   We need to shut the flow of taxpayer money to Government Motors.   Just another case of the Obama policies exporting jobs... 
Aug 29, 2012 10:46AM


Can we see Obama's College transcripts. I understand he received financial aid as a foreign exchange student and citizen of Indonesia named Barry Soetoro . When he passed the Bar exam in Chicago, he answered no to the question , have you ever indentified yourself by any other name?

Aug 29, 2012 10:51AM

Buy Low,

The market is manipulated by the Fed like all markets are right now till the election. Why do you think Harry Reid reversed his position on legislation he previously pushed for for a complete audit of the Fed?

Aug 29, 2012 10:56AM

The minimum wage of today has not keep up with inflation since 1999. Since the 1950’s we have seen the minimum wage, which was a living wage at that time, become a non-living wage unable to support a middle class lifestyle. Families working near the lower salary ranges are now REQUIRED to have both mother and father work to create the middle class lifestyle that just one person working was able to provide before.


The average US median family earning continues to fall and the middle class has shrank by about 10% since the beginning of the recession, becoming part of the lower class and swelling the ranks of the poor and straining social programs.


If conservatives truly value family values, they should be complaining about the loss of income where one worker used to be able to support the family and not have to rely on government support like tax credits, school lunch programs or subsidized child care to raise their children. We can either continue this path of paying workers less and less creating a society where the government takes over the role of parents (as is happening now), or we can instead chose to have parents to watch over and help them in their studies and teach them about life values. If you wanted government to get out of our lives, which would you chose? To have us become merely baby makers and let society take care of them in all aspects, or real parents?

Aug 29, 2012 11:39AM
Can the Union run GM who built a new plant in Mexico and now will expand a plant in Russia get work permits for some of the folks they fired and place them in these plants to work?

This was a rip-off - Not just bond holders and stock holders.

The excuse was it was to prevent going bankrupt. Well they did anyway.

I always used to purchase GM products, don't get me wrong - they make a good product - they were mismanaged. Still seem to be.

If you get a work permit in Russia - Is it a "red card"?

Aug 29, 2012 10:52AM

dON'T ALWAYS AGREE WITH OUR cOMPANIES, building up in Foreign; Auto Mfg.


Some do it for savings,example: Apple.... Others for inroads to the Foreign consumer. And they are forced into those situations, or seem to be....Many have done it for the savings,we allow it.


Ford and GM are building plants in China, India and then maybe Russia, they already have facilities in Europe and Canada...And maybe other parts of the Americas??  Did not check all locations...

Having to build in the Major Countries, "in order to sell their products there."

Funny that you would fault them for trying to make money for an American Co. and their stockholders.


I guess so soon we forget, that we let or forced Foreign manufactures to come here and build,

Selling their product of Toyotas,Hondas,Nissans,BMWs, etc.

And then we also forget "you", the ones that won't buy an American "Big 3" Auto, for one stupid reason or another...?

And then we wonder why our car manufactures are building in other Countries. ??

You thought about "your" misgivings too late.

Aug 29, 2012 10:49AM



If you have never run a business, or saved a business, (MITT ROMMEY HAS AND OBAMA HAS NOT) then you do not sign checks on the front.  You endorse a check from someone who does.  They are called business owners and EVERY BUSINESS WAS A SMALL BUSINESS AT ONE TIME - THAT EITHER BECAME BIGGER OR FAILED AT SOMETIME.


The average startup small business failure rate in the U.S. during the first 5 years has traditionally been 50%.  Think there is not risk, then you are SMOKING SOMETHING!


Grew up in a small buisiness and I was a banker for 36 years.  AND NO I WAS NOT A WALL STREET BANKER AND I NEVER MADE A 6 FIGURE SALARY, AND NO I AM NOT A 1%er. 





Aug 29, 2012 11:10AM
Floating: you are descibing the democratic party not the republican one, give one example where repubs have silenced debate, and for every one you give, I'll provide 10 democratic ones.
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