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U.S. stocks swing as housing construction tumbles
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07:59, May 20, 2009

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Wall Street swung on Tuesday as housing construction plunging to a record low in April overshadowed better-than-expected earnings from Home Depot.

The U.S. Commerce Department said construction of new homes and apartments fell 12.8 percent last month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 458,000 units, the lowest pace on records going back a half-century. Economists had expected home construction to post a modest increase in April.

Home Depot Inc., the U.S. largest home improvement retailer, declined even after the company said its fiscal first-quarter profit climbed 44 percent on fewer charges.

Financial shares fell as the U.S. Senate passed a bill to curb sudden credit card interest rate increases and hidden fees. Shares of American Express fell 5.1 percent to 24.79 U.S. dollars while JPMorgan Chase & Co was down 3.9 percent to 36.81 dollars.

The Dow Jones industrial average was down 29.23 points, or 0.34percent, to 8,474.85. The Standard & Poor's 500 index was down 1.58 points, or 0.17 percent, to 908.13. The Nasdaq composite index was up 2.18 points, or 0.13 percent, to 1,734.54.

Source: Xinhua

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