Midday Market Update: Housing Gives a Push | ETF Trends

Reports on how consumers are feeling these days and encouraging news from the real estate sector have stocks and exchange traded funds (ETFs) trading slightly higher this morning.

For the third consecutive month, home prices rose in August. The Standard & Poor’s/Case-Shiller index showed the prices rose 1% from July in 20 major cities. Prices are still down 11.4% from a year ago, reports J.W. Elphinstone for the Associated Press.

Consumer confidence fell in October to 47.7, the second-lowest reading since May. Analysts had expected a reading of 53.1. Any reading above 90 indicates the economy is on solid footing; a reading above 100 indicates solid growth, reports Ashley M. Heher for the Associated Press. Fewer jobs, lower salaries and a gloomy business climate are bringing shoppers down and keeping them reluctant to spend. Retail Select Sector SPDR (NYSEArca: XRT) is down nearly 2% this morning. (A holiday ETF?)

BP (NYSE: BP) reported a bigger-than-expected profit in the third quarter, even though lower oil and gas prices put a dent in its earnings. BP met its target by cutting costs by $3 billion. WisdomTree International Energy (NYSEArca: DKA) is up 1.5% this morning; BP is 8.6%.

United States Steel (NYSE: X) posted its third consecutive quarterly loss, thanks to the global economic downturn, which has depressed steel demand. The company did note that production and shipments rose from the second quarter and that a narrower loss in the fourth quarter is expected. Market Vectors Steel (NYSEArca: SLX) is down nearly 2.5% this morning; United States Steel is 5.1%. (Where steel and copper are going).

The opinions and forecasts expressed herein are solely those of Tom Lydon, and may not actually come to pass. Information on this site should not be used or construed as an offer to sell, a solicitation of an offer to buy, or a recommendation for any product.