Although they declined ever so slightly, home sales last month beat expectations. Although major indexes are in the black so far this morning, the numbers don’t seem to be enough to rocket exchange traded funds (ETFs) into solidly positive territory.

Although February’s home sales fell 0.6% last month from January – less bad than economists had anticipated – it’s being taken as a signal that the housing market is still in a slump that won’t abate anytime soon. It can’t be good when buyers can’t even be goaded with government tax credits or low, low mortgage rates. One positive: the rate of decline has slowed, and that’s something. SPDR S&P Homebuilders (NYSEArca: XHB) is down 0.6% this morning. [Real Estate ETFs: Big Improvements, Big Challenges.]

Google (NASDAQ: GOOG) and China are locked in a battle royale, and it’s unclear who the victor will ultimately be. Here’s the rundown so far: China has been censoring Google. Google volleyed back and threatened to pull its site entirely from China, before relenting and instead just re-route Chinese users to the Hong Kong site. China saw Google’s move and raised it by blocking access to the Hong Kong site. Now what?

A deal between China’s largest cellular communications company, China Mobile, could soon cancel a deal that would have made Google its internet home page. At what cost is Google willing to stand its ground? We’ll just have to wait. First Trust Dow Jones Internet (NYSEArca: FDN) is down 0.5% so far today; Google is 9.1%. [ETFs to Play the Tech Sector Boom.]

Steel is getting a nice kick this morning following reports that Brazil’s Vale SA more than doubled prices for April until June. The company is the world’s largest iron-ore producer. Banco Santander also raised its rating for Latin America’s steel industry to “overweight,” citing the prospect of higher prices. Market Vectors Steel (NYSEArca: SLX) is up more than 2% this morning; Vale is 11.7%. [4 Factors Driving Coal and Steel ETFs.]

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.