US stocks fall before housing data

US stocks fall before housing data

By Reuters

New York: US stocks fell on 27 August as data pointing to further trouble in the housing sector fueled concerns about the outlook for the economy and corporate profits.

Shares of big manufacturers, including 3M Co and General Electric Co, were among the biggest drags on major market indexes, along with shares of banks and other financial services companies.

The Dow Jones home construction index fell 1.9% after the National Association of Realtors reported a drop in July existing home sales and a jump in the supply of unsold single-family homes to its highest since 1991.

“People are thinking that if these are the July numbers, before the August turmoil, then what will the August numbers show?" said Subodh Kumar, chief investment strategist at Subodh Kumar & Associates in Toronto, Canada.

“One way or the other, the market is still trying to wrap its arms around the implications of the credit problems. People had been hoping inventory numbers would be dropping, instead they are rising."

The Dow Jones industrial average was down 46.66 points, or 0.35%, at 13,332.21. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index was down 7.80 points, or 0.53%, at 1,471.57. The Nasdaq Composite Index was down 10.02 points, or 0.39%, at 2,566.67.

Shares of 3M fell 1.1% to $88.17 on the New York Stock Exchange, while shares of GE declined 0.95% to $39.05. Shares of Boeing Co lost 0.7% to $97.74. Among financials, shares of JPMorgan fell 1.3% to $45.34 on the NYSE as shares of Citigroup dipped 0.9% to $48.08.

Shares of the biggest U.S. mortgage lender, Countrywide Financial Corp, dropped 6.1% to $19.73 on the NYSE after Lehman Brothers cut its price target on the stock.

A pullback in crude oil prices also hurt shares of oil companies, including Exxon Mobil Corp., whose stock dropped 0.6% to $85.13 on the NYSE. But on the bright side, shares of Home Depot Inc. jumped 1.7% to $35.27 on the NYSE on news that the largest US home improvement chain managed to salvage the buyout of its supply unit by slashing its sale price.

US crude for October delivery was down 0.8% at $70.28 on the New York Mercantile Exchange.