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

The major stocks were gaining Monday after indexes saw their third losing week in four. As of 12 p.m.:

DIJA: -0.70% to 15070.18 S&P 500: -0.59% to 1626.73 NASDAQ: -0.63% to 3423.56
Gold: -1.14% to 74.52 Oil: +0.32% to 22.842 U.S. 10-Year: +0.52% to 21.37

Here are the major stories helping shape the markets Monday afternoon:

1. Here’s Why All Eyes Are on the Fed This Week: In today’s world of “quantitative easing to infinity,” it’s all about the Fed, all the time, and this week’s Fed meeting could be pivotal for the near term future of global financial markets.

Stock markets at home and abroad continued their volatile ways on Friday as investors and traders look to the U.S. Federal Reserve meeting on Tuesday and Wednesday, the interest rate announcement on Wednesday and, finally, Fed Chairman Bernanke’s Wednesday press conference. U.S. financial markets have been rocked in recent days by confusion and conflict over what the Fed’s next move might be. In Congressional testimony earlier this month, Fed Chairman Bernanke floated a trial balloon regarding “tapering,” and that was followed on by several Fed Presidents suggesting that it was time to take the foot off the gas pedal of easy money… (Read more.)

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2. Are India-Iran Energy Ties Unsettling Washington? India’s relentless search for hydrocarbons to fuel its booming economy has managed the rather neat diplomatic trick of annoying Washington, delighting Tehran and intriguing Baghdad, all the while leaving the Indian Treasury fretting about how to pay for its oil imports, given tightening sanctions on fiscal dealings with Iran.

On June 7, the U.S. State Department reluctantly announced that it was renewing India’s six-month waivers for implementing sanctions against Iran along with seven other countries eligible for waivers from the sanctions owing to good faith efforts to substantially reduce their Iranian oil imports. In New Delhi’s case, it is the U.S. and EU-led sanctions rather than any willingness on India’s part that has seen a fall in its Iranian oil imports. India is the second largest buyer of Iranian oil, a nation with whom it has traditionally had close ties… (Read more.)

3. Home Builders Party Like Its the Housing Bubble All Over Again: While the real estate market is still well below its glory days of the housing bubble, confidence among home builders in the United States reached its highest level in seven years.

After declining for three consecutive months earlier this year, the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo index of builder confidence posted its second straight monthly gain in June. The index jumped 8 points to reach 52, compared to 44 in May. It was the biggest single-month jump in over a decade… (Read more.)

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