Stocks Opened Lower on Housing Data, Earnings

U.S. stocks opened slightly lower on Tuesday as investors digested upbeat housing data and a mixed bag of earnings reports. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lately fell 25.82 points, or 0.15%, to 17,519.36. The S&P 500 was down 3.17 points, or 0.15%, to 2,099.27. The Nasdaq Composite shed 14.22 points, or 0.28%, to 5,077.48.

U.S. housing starts rose to a near eight-year high in July as builders ramped up construction of single-family homes, suggesting that the economy was firing on almost all cylinders.Groundbreaking increased 0.2 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual pace of 1.21 million units, the highest level since October 2007. June’s starts were revised sharply higher to a 1.20 million-unit rate from the previously reported 1.17 million-unit pace.

Wal-Mart Stores Inc (WMT) reported weaker-than-expected quarterly earnings and lowered its full-year forecast. Net profit attributable to the company fell to $1.08 per share in the second quarter ended July 31 from $1.21 per share a year earlier. For the year ending in January, Wal-Mart lowered its earnings-per-share forecast to a range of $4.40 to $4.70 from its outlook of $4.70 to $5.05 in February.

U.S. oil prices fell towards six-year lows on Tuesday. U.S. crude futures were 20 cents weaker at $41.67 a barrel by 1205 GMT, close to their lowest since early 2009.

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