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Overnight Markets: Housing data weigh on Wall Street

Overnight Markets: Housing data weigh on Wall Street

Wall Street declined on Monday as a slump in pending home sales overshadowed a rise in durable- goods orders while investors watched earnings.

The Dow Jones industrial average was down 14 points, or 0.1%, at 13,882. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index was down three points, or 0.18%, at 1,500. The Nasdaq Composite Index was up five points, or 0.15%, at 3,154.

Economic data showed US durable goods orders jumped 4.6% in December, a pace that far outstripped expectations for a rise of 1.8%. Pending home sales, however, unexpectedly fell 4.3%. Analysts were looking for an increase of 0.3%.

Dow component Caterpillar rose 2% even as the company posted a 55% drop in quarterly profit.

Apple was lifted 2.3% by bargain hunters and the iPad and iPhone maker regained the title as the largest U.S. company by market capitalisation. Exxon Mobil fell 0.7% and slipped back to second place.

Facebook Inc. added 3% as options traders were the most bullish on the shares on record.

Hess Corp shot up 6.1% after the company said it would exit its refining business, freeing up to $1 billion of capital. Separately, hedge fund Elliott Associates is looking for approval to acquire nearly $800 million more in Hess stock.

On the negative side, Boeing declined 1.4% on worries about the potential hit from delays in its 787 Dreamliner programme.

Yahoo surged 4.4% after the bell following the release of its results. AK Steel Holding Corp. lost 7.4% in regular session after Goldman Sachs downgraded the shares.

PetSmart Inc. plunged 9.1% after the pet-store chain was cut to reduce from neutral by Nomura Holdings Inc.

In Asia, most markets extended gains on Tuesday in late morning trade led by Australia after upbeat US economic data boosted the earnings outlook for the region’s exporters.

Nikkei 225 Stock Average added 0.2% after falling on Monday while South Korea’s Kospi Composite index added 0.5%. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 index advanced 0.9%. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index was off 0.2% and the Shanghai Composite index down 0.2%.

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