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U.S. Stocks Steady by Midday Trade

Tuesday, March 26, 2013 12:20 PM
U.S. stocks traded firmly in green territory by midday trade on Tuesday as unexpectedly weak consumer sentiment index was overshadowed by S&P/Case-Shiller home price and durable goods order data. At last check, the Dow Jones Industrial Average Index gained 0.64%; the NASDAQ Composite Index edged up 0.29% while the S&P 500 Index rose 0.52%. According to the Conference Board, the consumer confidence index fell to 59.7 in March from downwardly revised reading of 68 in the previous month. Economists polled by Reuters were expecting a reading of 68. New home sales fell 4.6% in February to seasonally adjusted annual rate of 411,000 units, according to the Commerce Department. Economists were expecting a reading of 422,000 units. The drop in sales was attributed to rapid increase in home prices. In January, new home sales climbed 13.1%. Meanwhile, new home sales declined 4.6 percent in February to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 411,000 units, according to the Commerce Department, missing estimates for a reading of 422,000. Last month's decline followed a 13.1 percent jump in January. Durable goods orders rose 5.7% in February, topping economists’ consensus expectation for 3.8% gain. However, excluding transportation equipments, durable orders declined 0.5 percent after climbing 2.9 percent in January. Economists polled by Reuters expected 0.5 percent rise in durable goods orders (excluding transportation equipment). The S&P Case/Shiller home price index for 20 metropolitan areas rose 1% in January while economists were expecting 0.9% increase. In some corporate news, shares of Supervalu Inc. (NYSE: SVU) gained after the embattled supermarket chain announced that it will cut 1,100 or 3% of its entire workforce in coming months as the need of corporate and store level functions and roles have significantly reduced following the sale of five grocery chains, few days ago. Shares of Netflix Inc. (NASDAQ: NFLX) gained after climbed as analysts at Pacific Crest boosted  their price target on the shares.
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