U.S. stocks end mixed after housing data, Fed assessment

08:20, June 24, 2010      

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Wall Street ended mixed after a choppy session on Wednesday after new home sales slumped to a record low in May, spurring concerns over a double-dip in housing market.

According to the Commerce Department, new home sales slumped 32. 7 percent to an annual rate of 300,000 units in May, the lowest level since record keeping started in 1963. The sharp decline in new home sales came in just one day after the data of existing home sales fell short of expectation, spurring fears that the recession-battered housing market is in danger of a double-dip.

Adding to the pressure, the Federal Reserve announced it will hold its benchmark interests at record low for an "extended period", and became more cautious about the U.S. economic recovery.

After a two-day meeting, the Fed said in its statement that the economic recovery is "proceeding," which was not as positive as the view at the April meeting when the Fed said economic activity continued to "strengthen."

The Fed also indicated the debt problems in Europe posed a risk to U.S. economy, citing "Financial conditions have become less supportive of economic growth on balance, largely reflecting developments abroad."

However, Major indexes found some support on a strengthening euro. The euro advanced to 1.2321 dollars in late New York trading, after the Fed's decision to keep interest rates at record low. In addition, oil fell nearly 2 percent to settle at 76.35 dollars a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange on Wednesday after government report showed an unexpected build in supplies.

The Energy Information Administration said that crude oil inventories increased by 2 million barrels in the week ended June 18, while analysts were looking for stockpiles to drop.

The Dow Jones industrial average added 4.92 points, or 0.05 percent, to 10,298.44. The Standard & Poor's 500 index dropped 3. 27 points, or 0.30 percent, to 1,092.04 and the Nasdaq was down 7. 57, or 0.33 percent, to 2,254.23.



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