Thursday’s Mid-Day Movers: 3 Stories Driving Markets

The U.S. equity markets remained in red territory on Thursday afternoon. A battery of underwhelming economic reports and earnings failed to dissipate the malaise generated by the minutes from the Federal Reserve meeting, and investors seem to be reevaluating their appetite for risk.

At 12:35 p.m.: DJIA: -0.51%, S&P 500: -0.65%, NASDAQ: -1.15%.

1) Existing home sales edged slightly higher in January to a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of 4.92 million units. This is the second-highest rate of sales since November 2009, a 9.1 percent improvement over the rate of sales in the year-ago period, and slightly ahead of the consensus estimate for a rate of 4.90 million. December’s rate of sales was revised down 1.2 percent, from 4.94 million to 4.90 million.

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Sales were limited by supply constraints, and this constraint is usually good for prices, yet January seemed to be an exception. Home prices declined month to month, but are still up substantially year over year… (Read more.)