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The Markets Now: Stocks Pare Earlier Losses After Release of Economic Data

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Plus, Apple sees a large demand for its bonds.

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Stocks are flat after opening lower this morning. Economic reports had mixed results as the Federal Open Market Committee begins its two-day meeting today.The Dow (INDEXDJX:.DJI) decreased 0.11% to 14,802.47. The S&P 500 (INDEXSP:.INX) climbed 0.02% to 1,593.94, and the Nasdaq (INDEXNASDAQ:.IXIC) rose 0.34% to 3,318.27.

S&P Dow Jones Indices reported today that the 10-City and 20-City Composites of its S&P/ Case-Shiller Home Price Indices showed average home prices increased 8.6% and 9.3% respectively for the 12 months ending in February of this year. From January to February, the 10-City Composite rose 0.4% and the 20-City Composite increased 0.3%. Read the full report here.

The Institute for Supply Management - Chicago and Deutsche Börse AG released their ISM-Chicago Business Survey and MNI Chicago Report. The report stated that the Chicago Business Barometer fell 3.4 from 52.4 to a seasonally adjusted 49.0 in April, a 3.5-year low. A reading below 50 indicates contraction in business activity month-over-month. The new orders component showed the only improvement from March, gaining 0.2 to 53.2. Read the full report here.

The Conference Board reported today that its Consumer Confidence Index increased from 61.9 in March to 68.1 in April. Read the press release here.

State Street Global Markets, the investment research and trading arm of State Street Corporation, reported today that its Global Investor Confidence Index, which measures confidence based on actual levels of risk in investment portfolios, increased 5.5 points from 88.1 in March to 93.6 in April. Confidence from North American institutions helped raise the index as the region's confidence index increased 10.2 points from 95.6 to 105.8. Read the press release here.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today that its Employment Cost Index, which measures compensation costs for civilian workers, increased 0.3% for the 3-month period ending in March from the fourth quarter of 2012. Year-over-year, compensation costs for civilian workers increased 1.8% from the first quarter of 2012. Read the press release here.

The International Council of Shopping Centers reported today that its ICSC-Goldman Store Sales Index, which measures comparable store sales at major retail chains, increased 0.4% week-over-week for the week ending April 27. Year-over-year the index increased 2.6%.

Redbook Research reported today that its Johnson Redbook Index, which measures sales at chain stores, discounters, and department stores, increased 2.8% year-over-year for the week ending April 27. Month-to-month, the index has declined 2.5% from March to April. Redbook says that cold weather hurt sales of spring apparel.

The US Treasury reported today that it auctioned $30 billion worth of 4-week Treasury bills with a 0.025% rate and with a 4.93 bid-to-cover ratio and $23 billion worth of 52-week Treasury bills with a 0.105% rate and with a bid-to-cover ratio of 4.91.

The National Agricultural Statistics Service of the Department of Agriculture will release the index of prices received by farmers for April at 3 p.m. EDT.

Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) rose 2.08% to $439.06. The tech company has received more than $50 billion in orders for its 6-part debt sale. Apple will issue 3-year and 5-year fixed and floating-rate notes, plus 10-year and 30-year fixed rate notes.

Pfizer (NYSE:PFE) fell 3.14% to $29.48. The biopharmaceutical company reported its first-quarter results today. It earned $2.75 billion, or $0.38 per share, compared to $1.79 billion, or $0.24 per share, in the prior-year quarter. Excluding special items, Pfizer earned $0.54 per share. Its revenue fell 9% year-over-year to $13.5 billion.

The company also lowered its full-year earnings estimate from between $2.20 and $2.30 per share to between $2.14 and $2.24 per share.

Newmont Mining Corporation (NYSE:NEM) plunged 7.39% to $31.46. The largest US gold producer reported its first-quarter results yesterday. Its net income decline to $315 million, or $0.63 per share, from $490 million, or $0.97 per share, in the prior-year quarter. After excluding one-time items, the mining company earned $0.71 per share. Sales declines to $2.18 from $2.68 billion a year ago.

Best Buy Corporation (NYSE:BBY) spiked 8.35% to $26.22. The world's largest consumer-electronics retailer announced it will sell its 50% stake in a mobile-phone venture to its partner Carphone Warehouse Group for 500 million pounds, or $775 million. Best Buy CEO Hubert Joly wants to liquidate some of its units to free up cash and resources.

Advanced Micro Devices (NYSE:MCO) jumped 3.92% to $2.79.

Twitter: @ChrisWitrak
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