Markets that got an early lift Tuesday thanks to a better-than-expected U.S. housing report also had to absorb a Consumer Confidence report that fell in August to the worst reading since last November — all the while waiting for Friday’s speech by Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke.
In the end, markets were little changed from Monday. The Nasdaq managed to eke out a gain of 0.13% to end at 3,077, while the Dow fell 0.17% to 13,102, and the S&P fell fractionally to 1,409.
The S&P/Case-Shiller national home price index showed home prices increased again in June, the fifth straight month-over-month rise in the index, and the first year-over-year gains in two years. Analysts had expected a 0.3% decrease.
On the flip side, The Conference Board consumer confidence index fell to 60.6 from 65.4 in July, well below the expected 66.o and the largest decline since October. Unemployment levels and uncertainty over the upcoming elections were the primary drivers of the drop.
On the corporate front, shares of printing and imaging company Lexmark (NYSE:LXK) jumped up nearly 13% on news that it will slash cost through employee layoffs and exit the inkjet printer business to concentrate on its business services division. The company will continue to make laser-jet printers.
Rare-earth miner Molycorp (NYSE:MCP) surged 13% after announcing late Monday it had started up its new Project Phoenix facility in Mountain Pass, Calif.
Wednesday brings a number of earnings releases, including InvestorPlace Real America Index component H.J. Heinz (NYSE:HNZ), retailers Jos. A Bank (NASDAQ:JOSB) and Vera Bradley (NASDAQ:VRA) and Internet radio provider Pandora (NYSE:P).
- Movado (NYSE:MOV): Up 18% ($5.41) to $35.52.
- Zagg (NASDAQ:ZAGG): Up 6.3% (45 cents) to $7.56.
- Annie’s (NASDAQ:BNNY): Up 4.6% ($1.85) to $42.35.
- Nokia (NYSE:NOK): Down 6.8% (22 cents) to $3.03.
- Yelp (NYSE:YELP): Down 4% (77 cents) to $18.34.
- Arch Coal (NYSE:ACI): Down 2.8% (18 cents) to $6.20.
Marc Bastow is an Assistant Editor at InvestorPlace.com. As of this writing, he did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities.