stock market tradersA record plunge in existing-homes sales last month sent equity investors skittering toward safety Tuesday, pushing the Dow to a triple-digit loss.

Despite bargain pricing in many regions of the country and record-low mortgage rates, the housing market remains a source of concern for investors as evidenced by Tuesday's trading. July sales of previously occupied homes dropped more than 27%, the National Association of Realtors said Tuesday. That's the sharpest monthly drop for total existing-home sales on record going back to 1999, with declines being seen in every region of the U.S., the NAR said.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average ($INDU) lost 136 points, or 1.3%, to finish at 10,039. The blue-chip index was off as much as 183 points during the session, putting it briefly below the 10,000 level.

The broader S&P 500 ($INX) fell 15 points, or 1.5%, to 1,053. The more volatile, tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite ($COMPX) shed 36 points, or 1.7%, to settle at 2,124.

In a flight to safety, bids flowed into the bond market. The yield on the benchmark 10-Year Treasury fell below 2.5% for the first time since 2009. (Bond yields move in the opposite direction of their prices.)

Seasonally adjusted existing-home sales for July came in at a 3.83-million-unit annual rate, well below economists' average estimate of 4.65 million. June existing-home sales were revised down to 5.26 million from 5.37 million.

Home resales reached a 5.66 million annual rate in May and have been sliding ever since, hurt by the end of the home-buyer tax credit on April 30.

Still, Tuesday's batch of dismal economic news is unlikely to break the market's months-long range-bound pattern, said John Stoltzfus, market strategist with Ticonderoga Securities.

"Until the market finds a catalyst or catalysts to commit to and be driven at length by -- either up or down -- we expect rallies will be bookended by sell-offs with negative to positive to negative to positive offsets driving action that grows increasingly short in duration in any one direction," Stoltzfus told clients in a Tuesday report.

Volume was once again light as many market participants are traditionally away on late August vacations. The market has been trading in a range around 1,080 on the S&P 500 since mid-May. See the chart below:


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NEZZ

screw big banks. give some money to the American peaple.they are broke.

August 24 2010 at 10:30 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
smithpet8

I just was reading that the Housing market is weak. So I wanted to EMPOWER YOU, with a little used tool for trading known as the Barter System. Bartering, Swapping, or trading with friends, family, or relatives WON'T make you rich. BUT it may hellp stretch your dollars. That'sd my intention here. Get everything in writing, and keep in moind that it works best when Both Parties are trying for a Win-Win situation. Also Bear in mind that some Barter May Be TAXABLLE. Generate a ""Needs List", and cicruolate it with this info amongst your friends, and family along with a list of goods, or services you can offer and why you are offering". Get everything in writing , because if you can specify what you want, you'll likely get it. Good Luck.

August 24 2010 at 7:47 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
jkennedy806

How's that TARP/HAMP Making Home Affordable/HOPE doing? If this program is any indication on bailing out small business & open up credit lines, the US is in big trouble. BO get the bankers and Wall Street gansters out of the there. They are screwing things up.

August 24 2010 at 6:13 PM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply
Walter

Walter: Get the WPA and Pwa ready where the support can be had directly to the workers instad of wall street!

August 24 2010 at 6:07 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
ultraz2

LAOOSER TOO BIG FOR THE MIDDLE CLASS TAX PAYER TO ALLOW TO FAIL, WALL STREET BANKS HAVE CAUSEED THIS TOTAL CRISIS, NOW THEY NOT ONLY REFUASE TO LEND THEY REFUSE TO DO HOME LOAN MODIFICATIONS, I KNOW BECAUSE I WAS DENIED BY ONE OF THESE WALL STREET MEGA BANKS THAT SHOULD HAVE GONE BANKRUPT. ---TERM LIMITS NOW

August 24 2010 at 5:43 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply