Stocks Waver after Housing Data

U.S. stocks were wavering between small gains and losses in early trading on Wednesday as investors parsed housing-market data and after the Bank of Japan decided to inject more monetary stimulus.The Dow Jones Industrial Average lately rose 4.79 points to 13,569.43 and the S&P 500 index  was slightly lower at 1,459.10. The Nasdaq Composite slipped 1.39 points to 3,176.41.

U.S. builders started work on more homes in August, driven by the fastest pace of single-family home construction in more than two years. The Commerce Department said Wednesday that construction of homes and apartments rose 2.3 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 750,000 last month. That’s up from 733,000 in July, which was revised lower from last month’s initial estimate.

The Bank of Japan Wednesday said it will provide more monetary stimulus in response to a slowing in domestic economic activity, increasing the size of its asset purchases by 10 trillion yen ($126.7 billion) to about ¥80 trillion. The central bank also left its policy-interest-rate target unchanged, in a range of zero to 0.1%.

Applications for home mortgages dipped last week, though demand for refinancings rose as mortgage rates fell to a record low, an industry group said on Wednesday. The Mortgage Bankers Association said its seasonally adjusted index of mortgage application activity, which includes both refinancing and home purchase demand, edged down 0.2 percent in the week ended Sept 14.

The Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee was unanimous this month in keeping the interest rates and the economic stimulus program unchanged. Minutes of the MPC meeting released Wednesday show all but one of its nine members are open to another increase in the stimulus program — called quantitative easing — in coming months.

 

Oil reversed early gains and dropped below $95 a barrel on Wednesday, the third straight day of falls despite fresh moves by Japan’s central bank easing

monetary policy. By early afternoon in Europe, benchmark oil for October delivery was down 73 cents to $94.56 per barrel in electronic trading on the

New York Mercantile Exchange.

Gold futures pared gains on Wednesday, after the Bank of Japan announced a surprise boost to its asset-buying program, supporting the U.S. dollar. Gold

for December delivery rose as high as $1,781.80 an ounce earlier. It lately gained $3.50 to $1,774.70 an ounce.

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