A see-saw session for stocks left the major averages with modest gains Wednesday despite another round of lackluster economic data out of the housing market and industrial sector.

The blue-chip Dow Jones Industrial Average ($INDU) spent most of the morning below the 10,000 level before turning positive in the last couple of hours of the session. The Dow added 20 points, or 0.2%, to close at 10,060. The broader S&P 500 ($INX) gained 3, or 0.3%, to 1,055. The more volatile, tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite ($COMPX) rose 18 points, or 0.8%, to finish at 2,142.

Shares had to shrug off more bad news in the housing market, as new-home sales plunged more than 12% in July to to a 276,000-unit annual rate -- the lowest level since the U.S. Commerce Department started keeping records in 1963.

Economists surveyed by Bloomberg forecast new-home sales to rise to a 340,000-unit annual pace in July from a revised 315,000-unit rate in June. Instead, they fell, and the June revision lowered last month's sales gain from the previously-released 23.6% rise to a to 12.1% rise. Revised sales rates for May and April came in at 281,000 and 414,000, respectively.
That follows Tuesday's report that July sales of previously occupied homes dropped more than 27%, 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.

In other disappointing data, orders for durable goods in July fell well short of economists' forecasts. Durable goods orders rose just 0.3% last month, the Commerce Department said Wednesday. A Bloomberg survey expected July durable goods to rise 2.5% in July. Equally significant, the more telling ex-transportation component, which excludes often-volatile aircraft orders and parts, plunged 3.8%.

The market has been characterized by light volume for months, which tends to amplify swings in ether direction. And although summer vacation season typically makes August a slow month for the market, this year is extraordinarily slow, according to research by Bespoke Investment Group.

Through the first 16 trading days of August, the S&P 500 has averaged 820 million shares traded per day -- the lowest reading since 1999, according to Bespoke. By way of comparison, average daily volume in August of 2007 was more than twice what the Street is registering now. "It seems that a lot of people are either out of the office, out of the market, or both," say the folks at Bespoke.


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jbluhm1951

The government, the Fed, needs to stop messing with the economy. Stop spending, stop passing bad law, and basically get out of the way and let the private sector recover. Everytime the government acts it hurts the recovery and prolongs it.

August 25 2010 at 9:25 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
jbluhm1951

Buying equities in todays markets takes some guts I would agree, however, if you have 3 to 5 years before you need your money now may be the best opportunity you will have for a long time to buy at really low prices. My stradegy has been to buy on the major dips in the markets. Technology has been down for some time and has been really hit hard as of late. I believe it will take Technology to bring the markets back strong, along with finacial companies. Both are selling at bargain prices, but you may have to wait 18 months before you can see the reward of buying now. I think it is a great time to build a porfolio. Most will disagree, and see the market as a wash-out. I betting there will be a chance in power in either the House or the Senate. If that happens the markets will take off. If not, the markets will tank something similar to the "Great Depression". I will probably be the first to cash out of equities all together, pull my funds and get my money as far away from the governments reach as possible. People better pay attention and vote out all the big spenders, and the anti-business, anti-sucessful middle class persons, and anti-America non-representatives out of both Houses.

August 25 2010 at 9:22 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
marine1942

Isn't it wonderful that the market still goes up even though all the news is bad That is something to be afraid of, very afraid

August 25 2010 at 9:05 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
donwaughn

They are always ripping us all off. It needs to stop. I have set up a place that the poor and middle class in the country can start to get their fair share of the giveaways. It is our turn to have a piece of the action. Just GOOGLE “THE CASH TEACHER” Click on the very first link and you are there!!! Then you will find the ways to cash in. Go to the PENNY STOCKS section to see things that the corporate fat cats don't want us to know. You want to see how the rich do it...GO THERE!

August 25 2010 at 7:44 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
Ava

UMB IS RIPPING OFF ITS CUSTOMERS IN OVERDRAFT CHARGES, IF YOUR 2$ OVER THEY SEND EEVERYTHING BACK, FEDERAL RESERVE REQUIRES ALL FUNDS TO BE SENT THROUGH 2 TIMES SO THEY GET 66.00 AT LEAST AND DONT PAY THE ITEM A BIG MONEY MAKER FOR UMB BANK. FORBES AND BERNANKE ENDORSE UMB. THEN YOU HAVE TO PAY YOU OVERAGES AT THE OTHER BANK AND THEY CLEAR EVERYTHING AFTER MIDNIGHT SO YOU DONT HAVE A CLUE, IN THESE TIMES MONEY IS SHORT, NOT A WAY TO TREAT THE PUBLIC. PULL YOUR FUNDS QUICK

August 25 2010 at 5:55 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
prognesub

Dow up in spite of lousy data. Fed steps in to prevent the Dow from dropping below 10,000.

August 25 2010 at 4:48 PM Report abuse +4 rate up rate down Reply