Despite strong corporate earnings from some tech-sector leaders and a stellar report regarding the housing sector, stocks and exchange traded funds (ETFs) fell into negative territory this morning.

Positive earnings from the tech sector lifted some spirits:

  • Amazon (Nasdaq: AMZN) reported a 69% increase in its third-quarter profit, fueling hopes that the holiday season could be a good one for online retailers, reports Geoffrey A. Fowler for The Wall Street Journal.
  • Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT) reported that cost-cutting helped deliver forecast-beating profits. The software giant also stated that consumer demand was strengthening.
  • Technology Select Sector SPDR (NYSEArca: XLK) is up 38.6% year-to-date; Microsoft is 9.9%

Existing home sales shot up 9.4% in September, handily beating estimates. It was also the largest monthly gain in 26 years, reports Alan Zibel for the Associated Press. Much of the increase is being attributed to homebuyers scrambling to purchase a home before the government’s tax credit for first-time homebuyers ends. SPDR Dow Jones REIT (NYSEArca: RWR) is up 17.7% year-to-date. (Visit our real estate category for more stories on the housing market.)

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke urgedCongress this morning to push through financial reform. The central bank is also taking its own steps  to fix the wounded system, reports Michael S. Derby for The Wall Street Journal.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Treasury and Federal Reserve have unveiled new rules aimed at capping executive pay. While it doesn’t cap pay levels at any specific institution, it still has broad reach, reports Steven Sloan at Insurance Networking. The Fed that 28 large financial institutions to a review of their policies. (For more on the financial sector, visit our financial category).

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.