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Tuesday 02nd of December 2008
January 25, 2007

Existing home sales down 0.8 percent in December


by Elaine Frei

Even though more corporations issued positive quarterly reports, Wall Street was lower at midday on Thursday. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was 0.4 percent lower to 12,570.66, while the Nasdaq Composite was down 0.7 percent to 2,449.10 and the S&P 500 had dropped 0.57 percent to 1,431.92. The Russell 2000 index of small-caps dropped 0.82 percent to 787.55.

Investor sentiment was not helped by a new report from the National Assoication of Realtors that existing homes sales dropped by 0.8 percent in December. The inventory of existing homes for sale also fell, however, by 7.9 percent to 3.51 million. In addition, the Labor Department said that new jobless claims grew last week at their highest rate in 16 months.

Quarterly reports were released by companies in a number of sectors. Online auctioneer Ebay added $2.88 to $32.88 after it said its profits were up by 24 percent and sales grew by 29 percent in its most recent quarter. Nokia reported that profits were up by 19 percent, gaining 79 cents to $21 on the session so far. AT&T gained 26 cents to $36.89 on profits that were up 17 percent on more wireless subscribers.

Even though Ford Motor said it withstood its largest annual loss ever amid declining sales, the carmaker added 10 cents to $8.30 as investors were relieved that the news wasn’t worse.

Lockheed Martin added 81 cents to $91.95 on a quarterly report that showed earnings up by 28 percent on growth in its military hardware division. The defense contractor raised its full-year forecast on the basis on the new figures.

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