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US stocks mixed after poor housing data; FOMC eyed

February 19, 2014

US stocks teetered at the opening bill on Wednesday as traders marked their positions before the Federal Reserve releases the minutes of its last meeting. The trade is calm again on Wall street and equities are actually mixed ahead of the key from the world`s largest economy, where the Federal open Market Committee is expected to release the minutes of its last meeting later in the day. The sentiment is kind of subdued and selling pressure was more evident after a report showed that the pace of US home construction dropped more than forecast in January. As of 09:39 a.m. in New York:  -  Dow Jones Industrial Average  was up 0.68 point at 16,131.08 -  Standard & Poor`s 500  was up 2.13 points or 0.12% at 1,8.40.76 -  NASDAQ Composite  was down 2.28 points or 0.07% at 4,269.96 The cold weather has taken a huge toll on the US economy, and notably, housing and construction activity, adding to signs that world`s largest economy has probably lost steam in the fourth quarter of last year. Earlier today, the Commerce Department said on Wednesday that housing start plunged 16.0% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 880 thousand, the lowest level since September, while analyst expected a median fall to 950 thousand in January. Separately, another report showed that producer prices increased in January in the US, with most of the gains coming from goods such as food and pharmaceuticals. The producer price index (PPI) increased 0.2% in January, following a 0.1% rise in December. Analysts had expected a rise of 0.1%. The Core PPI, which excludes volatile items like food and energy, rose by 0.2%. The dollar gained traction against a six-currency basket, with the  USDIX  rising as high as 80.10 after the poor housing data, which follows suit of a yesterday`s disappointing factory Empire manufacturing data, but then it eased towards 80.05 as of 09:53 a.m. ET. Meanwhile, markets are waiting for the Fed`s minutes to probably offer more signs about the future of the US monetary policy. The FOMC will release the minutes at 02:00 p.m. ET.

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Source: Financial Markets

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