Stocks are mixed midday on drop in pending home sales and unexpectedly positive durable goods orders for December.
These two economic reports showed that while manufacturing may be regaining momentum, lower pending sales of existing homes could indicate uncertainty in the housing sector. However, that data points to limited supply of homes for sale, which should be a boost to home prices this year. The home price index comes out tomorrow.
Caterpillar (NYSE:CAT) was the biggest percentage gainer on the Dow, after a positive earnings announcement. However, the heavy equipment maker did have a cautious outlook for 2013. Caterpillar said profits this year could shrink if the global economy doesn't improve in the second half. It also said 1Q profit and revenue will be significantly lower than a year ago.
Among losers, AK Steel (NYSE:AKS), was downgraded by Goldman Sachs to sell from neutral. Goldman said the stock price run up was unwarranted given the market's oversupply. AK Steel down over 7% in afternoon trading.
Tomorrow, the Fed's Open Market Committee meeting begins. We'll also hear about consumer confidence and S&P's Case Shiller home price index. That index tracks monthly changes in the value of residential real estate in 20 metropolitan regions across the U.S.
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