Thursday stocks teeter on modest rise in home sales

Dow now at 10,662, down 76 points.

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks erased early losses Thursday after slightly better news on home sales and leading indicators offset concerns about Europe’s economy and a jump in unemployment claims.
Market indexes inched higher in midday trading after a gauge of future economic activity rose modestly and home sales climbed from 15-year lows in August. Stocks had fallen sharply at the opening after claims for unemployment benefits jumped unexpectedly last week and new signs emerged of a slowdown in Europe.
The Dow Jones industrial average rose 15 points in midday trading after being down as much as 94 shortly after the opening bell. Investors hoping to avoid risk continued to pile into Treasurys, sending interest rates lower.
Thursday’s turnaround “really shows we have healthy sentiment,” said Anthony Chan, chief economist at J.P. Morgan Private Wealth Management. “It shows the market can ignore some bad news if it’s somewhat balanced with encouraging data.”
The National Association of Realtors said sales of previously occupied homes rose 7.6 percent last month after plummeting in July. The rebound was encouraging, but volume remains weak and August was still the second-worst month for sales in more than a decade. Some analysts are hopeful that home sales have bottomed out.
Chan said expectations for the housing market were “so dire” that any signs of growth is considered positive.

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