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Stocks waver after mixed report on US housing


February 16. 2013 4:42PM
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(AP) Stocks flipped between small gains and losses in early trading Thursday after a mixed report on the housing market.


The Dow Jones industrial average fell four points to 13,160. The broader Standard & Poor's 500 index rose a fraction of a point to 1,406. The Nasdaq composite index climbed five to 3,306.


The Commerce Department reported that construction of single-family homes and apartments dipped 1.1 percent in July compared with June. But the number of building permits jumped to 812,000, the most since August 2008.


Facebook sank $1.30, more than 6 percent, to $19.90 on the first day that its early investors and a handful of founders were free to sell their stock. In all, 271 million shares can be sold, according to Facebook's regulatory filings.


Cisco Systems led stocks in the Dow, rising $1.29, or 7.4 percent, to $18.64. The world's largest maker of computer networking equipment reported earnings late Wednesday that beat expectations.


Among other stocks making big moves:


Agilent Technologies slid $3.27, or 8.1 percent to $37.21, the worst drop in the S&P 500. Agilent said a slump in global demand for its high-tech measuring products helped tug net income down 26 percent.


PetSmart Inc. rose $2.86, or 4.2 percent, to $70.30. The pet products store posted better earnings than analysts' forecasts. PetSmart's quarterly net income rose 28 percent, and it raised its annual profit expectation for the second time this year.


Associated Press


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