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

U.S. stocks advanced on Tuesday as positive corporate earnings took the spotlight. At 12:15 a.m.:

DJIA: +1.00% to 14,712.80 S&P 500: +1.03% to 1,578.62 NASDAQ: +1.23% to 3,273.24
Gold: -$7.80 to $1,413.40 Oil: +0.08% to $89.26 per barrel U.S. 10-Year: +0.009 points to 1.703%

Here are three stories helping shape the market:

1) The Real Estate Market Receives Another Boost: The Commerce Department reported that purchases on new homes, measured by contracts signed, increased 1.5 percent to a seasonally adjusted 417,000-unit annual pace last month, compared to the revised February rate of 411,000 units. Home sales were up 18.5 percent compared to March 2012.

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The tug-of-war between supply and demand in the housing market continued to drive prices higher in February, according to data released by the Federal Housing Finance Agency on Tuesday morning. The FHFA price index increased 0.7 percent on the month, in line with expectations. While the index climbed 7.1 percent on the year, it is still 13.6 percent below its April 2007 peak… (Read more.)

2) Here’s How Spending Cuts Are Hurting the Economy: Earnings may be under the microscope today, but the economic headwinds are still howling. On Tuesday morning, Markit reported that the flash reading of the U.S. Purchasing Managers’ Index fell to 52.0 in April, its lowest reading in six months.

“The biggest monthly fall in the PMI since June 2010 raises concerns that the U.S. manufacturing expansion is losing momentum rapidly as businesses and households worry about the impact of tax hikes and government spending cuts,” commented Chris Williamson, chief economist at Markit… (Read more.)

3) Manufacturing Expectations Fall On Weak Data: Manufacturing activity in the fifth Federal Reserve district continued to slow in April. Data released by the Richmond Fed on Tuesday morning showed that its seasonally-adjusted index of manufacturing activity — its broadest measure of manufacturing — fell nine points to -6, driven lower by weakness in factory shipments and new order volume.

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Shipments alone fell 17 points to -9, while the measure for new orders lost four points to -8. April’s slowdown follows a reduction of activity in March. Capacity utilization fell for a second month, losing 15 points to -18… (Read more.)

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