Stocks Opened Lower ahead of Confidence Data

U.S. stocks started lower on Tuesday ahead of an August report on consumer confidence and minutes from the Federal Reserve’s last meeting. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lately fell 29.44 points to 11,509.81. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index declined 3.69 points to 1,206.39. The Nasdaq Composite Index shed 1.49 points to 2,560.62.

Spring buying pushed home prices up for a third straight month in most major U.S. cities in June. The Standard & Poor’s/Case-Shiller home-price index showed Tuesday that prices increased in June from May in 19 of the 20 cities tracked. Prices rose 3.6 percent in the April-June quarter from the previous quarter. Neither of those numbers is adjusted for seasonal factors.Over the past 12 months, home prices have declined in all 20 cities after adjusting forseasonal factors.

Ratings agency Standard and Poor’s lowered its economic growth forecasts for the euro zone on Tuesday, but said the shared currency bloc was not headed toward a new recession. S&P said in a new report it forecast growth of 1.7 percent in 2011 and 1.5 percent in 2012, down from estimates in July of 1.9 percent and 1.8 percent respectively.

Oil fell from near its highest in three weeks in London on speculation that crude stockpiles are increasing in theU.S., the biggest consumer of the commodity. Brent oil for October settlement lost as much as 47 cents, or 0.4 percent, to $111.41 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange.

Barnes & Noble Inc.(BKS) said Tuesday it narrowed its net loss in its fiscal first quarter as sales of its Nook e-book reader and e-books helped offset lower physical book sales. The largest U.S. traditional book retailer says its net loss was $56.6 million, or 99 cents per share. That compares with a loss of $62.5 million, or $1.12 per share, last year. Analysts expected a loss of 94 cents per share. Revenue rose nearly 2 percent to $1.42 billion from $1.4 billion. Analysts expected $1.46 billion in revenue.

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