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Stocks – Wall Street Opens Higher on House Price Surge; Dow up 36 Pts

imageStock Markets12 hours ago (Aug 17, 2020 09:36AM ET)

(C) Reuters.

By Geoffrey Smith — U.S. stock markets started the week in positive mode, as participants took encouragement from data showing the strength of the housing market in July and downplayed fresh signs elsewhere of the economic recovery flattening out.

By 9:35 AM ET (1335 GMT), the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 36 points, or 0.1%, at 27,967, while the S&P 500 was up 0.3% and the Nasdaq Composite was up 0.6%.

Earlier, the National Association of Home Builders said its housing market index matched its all-time high of 78 in July, rising much more sharply than expected. That overshadowed a significant weakening in the Empire State Manufacturing index, which fell to a level of 3.7 from 17.2 in July. New orders slumped particularly alarmingly but the employment component of the index held up.

The news from the NAHB supported names such as Home Depot (NYSE:HD) stock, which rose 1.9% to an all-time high, and home-builder Lennar (NYSE:LEN), which also hit an all-time high with a gain of 1.2%.

Elsewhere, Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) stock rose another 4.4%, adding another $13 to its market capitalization, on the back of a price target upgrade from Wedbush Securities, which it put down to signs of accelerating sales growth in China. Figures from the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers suggest that Tesla sold over 11,000 cars in China in July, grabbing a bigger share of a market that is actually expected to shrink this year due to the phase out of subsidies. Almost all of the cars sold were the Model 3, which generates the lowest profit margin of all the company’s models.

The market seemed largely untroubled by the increasing amount of noise generated by political arguments, which centered at the weekend around the role of the U.S. Postal Service. House Democrats intend to hear testimony from Postmaster-General Louis DeJoy over his handling of the service, amid allegations that President Trump is denying it the funding to ensure it can handle the big expected increase in postal ballots at November’s election. Trump himself linked his refusal to approve funds to the election in comments last week, before walking them back on Fox Business News on Monday morning.

Elsewhere, airline stocks fell after a stock exchange filing from Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE:BRKa) at the weekend showing that the U.S.’s most famous value investor had cut his losses on them, dropping United, Southwest, American and Delta from the company’s portfolio.

United Airlines (NASDAQ:UAL) stock fell 4.0%, while American Airlines (NASDAQ:AAL) stock fell 3.1%. One of Buffett’s new picks,Barrick Gold (NYSE:GOLD), soared over 10% by contrast,

In other markets, Gold Futures too received a lift from Buffett’s seal of approval, rising 1.8% to within $15 of the $2,000 level. U.S. crude futures, meanwhile, reversed overnight losses to trade up 1.1%. Both commodities were helped by a weaker dollar: the dollar index, which measures the greenback against a basket of developed market currencies, fell 0.3% to 92.82, testing the two-year low it made earlier in August.

Stocks – Wall Street Opens Higher on House Price Surge; Dow up 36 Pts

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