FOX Business: Capitalism Lives Here
U.S. equity markets sputtered after the worst day for Wall Street in more than a month as traders digested upbeat housing data.
As of 12:30 p.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 1.8 points, or 0.01%, to 16445, the S&P 500 rose 0.7 point, or 0.04%, to 1872 and the Nasdaq Composite fell 6.4 points, or 0.16%, to 4063.
The broad S&P 500 sustained its worst selloff in more than a month on Thursday as worries about growth sent traders dashing for the exits. Economically-sensitive names took the brunt of the selling. The volatility this year have left the major market averages essentially hovering about the unchanged line.
There are two major reports on the economic docket.
The Commerce Department said starts of new home construction jumped 13.2% in April to an annualized rate of 1.07 million units, more than the 980,000 starts Wall Street anticipated for the month. Permits, meanwhile, rose 8% to an annualized rate of 1.08 million in the same month, the highest rate since June 2008. Wall Street was expecting a slightly lower number of 1.01 million.
In corporate news, J.C. Penney (JCP) posted a shallower-than-feared quarterly loss and stronger-than-expected revenues. Shares of the retailer, which has been working to stage a recovery, soared on the news. Abbott Laboratories (ABT) unveiled an acquisition of Latin American player CFR Pharmaceuticals in a deal valued at about $2.9 billion, net of debt.
Elsewhere, U.S. crude oil futures rose 20 cents, or 0.2%, to $101.70 a barrel. Wholesale New York Harbor gasoline advanced 0.04% to $2.965 a gallon. Gold fell slightly to $1,293 a troy ounce.