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

U.S. stocks were a mixed bad on Monday afternoon. Strong earnings from Caterpillar (NYSE:CAT) and Halliburton (NYSE:HAL) weighed against relatively disappointing home sales data. At 12:45 p.m.:

DJIA: -0.07% to 14,537.00 S&P 500: +0.16% to 1,557.79 NASDAQ: +0.60% to 3,225.27
Gold: +1.76% to $1,420.10 per ounce Oil: +0.52% to $88.47 per barrel U.S. 10-Year: -0.005 points to 1.701%

Here are three stories moving markets on Monday afternoon:

EXCLUSIVE OFFER! Take Advantage of the Tax Relief 50% Off Sale for a Limited Time. CLICK HERE for your Weekly Stock Cheat Sheets NOW!

1) Housing Market Tug Of War: Sales Stall While Prices Climb: Existing home sales declined in March, according to data released by the National Association of Realtors on Monday.

Total existing home sales — defined as completed transactions involving single-family homes, town homes, condominiums, and co-ops — declined 0.6 percent on the month to a seasonally-adjusted annualized rate of 4.92 million in March. February’s annualized rate was downwardly revised to 4.95 million. That said, March’s rate was 10.3 percent higher than the year-ago period. Sales have no been above year-ago levels for 21 consecutive months… (Read more.)

2) Has Economic Austerity Failed Europe? “In the early phase of the crisis, it was essential to restore the credibility of fiscal policy in Europe, because that was fundamentally questioned by market forces,” said Olli Rehn, the European Commissioner for Economic and Monetary Affairs, according to Reuters. “There was no choice.”

Rehn’s comments strike at the heart of a debate that is currently being held not just in Europe, but in the United States, Japan, and every other economy struggling to recover from economic crisis. Broadly, policymakers have pursued one of two vectors that could lead to growth: austerity, or stimulus… (Read more.)

EXCLUSIVE OFFER! Take Advantage of the Tax Relief 50% Off Sale for a Limited Time. CLICK HERE for your Weekly Stock Cheat Sheets NOW!

3) Here’s Why the U.S. Economy is Missing February: February proved to be a bright spot in the U.S. economic recovery. But a recent stream of economic indicators have painted a much more negative picture of March; most recently, the Labor Department’s Economic Situation report and the Commerce Department’s Retail Sales report showed that the economy experienced setbacks last month in both the labor market and consumer spending. Adding to the concerning evidence was Monday’s Chicago Fed National Activity Index for March, a monthly gauge designed to measure overall economic activity and related inflationary pressure… (Read more.)

Don’t Miss: Here’s Why the U.S. Economy is Missing February.