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Tuesday 07th of October 2008
October 26, 2006

Homebuilders decline on lower prices


by Elaine Frei

The New York equities markets were mixed at midday on Thursday on new concerns that the housing market in the United States is continuing to slow. The Dow Jones Industrial Average had dropped 0.1 percent to 12,120.19 and the S&P 500 was 0.02 percent lower to 1,381.98. The Nasdaq Composite was 0.03 percent higher to 2,375.4.

Pulte Homes reflected the slowdown in its report of a significant drop in earnings and a warning that fourth-quarter earnings will be much lower than current estimates. Pulte’s shares were 0.7 percent lower to $31.98 in the wake of new data from the Commerce Department that shows the median price of a new home down 9.7 percent in September.

Stock exchanges were also lower on the session so far. Nasdaq dropped 0.5 percent to $36.80. Meanwhile, the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, which has agreed to take over the Chicago Board of Trade, dropped nearly 1 percent to $492.10. The Chicago Board of Trade itself dropped even more, by 1.6 percent to $145.08. The NYSE Group, which owns the New York Stock Exchange, fell 1.7 percent to $74.10 despite reporting third-quarter profits had tripled.

In the oil sector, ExxonMobil added 0.2 percent to $71.15 on operating profits that were at $10.5 billion in the quarter, the second highest quarterly profit ever reported by a US company.

Dow Chemical gained 0.9 percent to $40.52 on higher earnings and a share buyback scheme worth $2 billion.

Among retailers, Wal-Mart also added 0.9 percent to $51.30 on the announcement that it is expanding the $4 generic prescription price it introduced in Florida to 12 more states, bringing the total number of states now included in the program to twenty-seven.

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