Thursday Mid-Day Movers: 3 Stories Driving Markets

The U.S. equity markets were floating comfortably in positive territory on Thursday afternoon following a battery of positive economic news.

At 12:35 p.m.: DJIA: +0.67%, S&P 500: +0.49%, NASDAQ: +0.61%.

Here are three stories affecting the markets on Thursday:Money-Fixed-Rate-Loans-Refinance-Home-Loan-Cash-713749

1) After logging impressive gains last year, homebuilders continue to climb higher as housing starts in December were stronger than expected.

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According to the Commerce Department, builders broke ground on houses at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 954,000 units last month, representing a 12.1 percent increase above the revised November estimate of 851,000. It is the highest pace of housing starts since mid-2008… (Read more.)

2) Lenders repossessed fewer homes in 2012 than in 2011, pursuing alternatives to foreclosures following government mortgage settlements with large U.S. banks and harsher state laws.

RealtyTrac’s year-end Foreclosure Market Report for 2012 showed that foreclosure filings, including default notices, scheduled auctions, and bank repossessions, were made on a total of 1.8 million properties last year, down 3 percent from 2011 and more than 36 percent from a 2010 peak of 2.9 million properties… (Read more.)