US stocks mixed after downbeat housing data (Lead)

March 22nd, 2012 - 1:01 am ICT by IANS  

New York, March 21 (IANS) US stocks traded mixed Wednesday after the latest report showed an unexpected decline in home resales, indicating the housing market was still facing a lot of difficulties on the way to recovery.

According to the National Association of Realtors, existing home sales slipped by 0.9 percent to an annual rate of 4.59 million units last month, while economist were expecting a rise, reports Xinhua.

However, January’s sales pace was revised up to 4.63 million units from the previously reported 4.57 million units, offsetting some negative effect on the market.

Meanwhile, a separate report released by the Mortgage Bankers Association Wednesday morning showed its index of mortgage application activity, which includes both refinancing and home purchase demand, dipped 7.4 percent in the week ended March 16.

In midday trading, the Dow Jones industrial average slipped 18. 02 points, or 0.14 percent, at 13,152.17. The Standard & Poor’s 500 was up 0.15 points, or 0.01 percent, to 1,405.67. The Nasdaq Composite Index rose 8.51 points, or 0.28 percent, to 3,082.66.

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