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Pre-Market Primer: Housing Data Blows Past Expectations Again

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The Bank of Japan resists calls to expand easing, and HP has a terrible, horrible, no-good, very bad quarter.

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MINYANVILLE ORIGINAL Stock futures are mixed after yesterday's rally as more positive housing market data was released.

Housing starts expanded to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 0.894 million homes in October, beating economists' expectations of 0.836 million. Builders were on pace to break ground on 0.863 million houses in September. Yesterday, it was reported that existing homes sold at an annualized pace of 4.79 million in October, also beating forecasts. Last month's permits fell to 0.866 million from 0.890 million, just above expectations.

Hewlett-Packard (NYSE:HPQ) shares plummeted by nearly 11% this morning after reporting earnings. Though earnings per share of $1.16 for the fiscal fourth quarter beat expectations by $0.02, revenue of $29.96 billion missed expectations by $500 million. PC sales fell 14% from the year earlier after dropping 10% last quarter. Enterprise hardware sales also fell 9%. The company took a $8.8 billion write-down on Autonomy, a software company that it bought last year.

Samsung (KRX:005930) was granted a review of its patent case with Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL). Last August, a California court ruled that the Korean company did infringe on Apple's design patents for smartphones and other mobile devices, an argument bolstered by internal Samsung documents. Apple was awarded over $1 billion from Samsung. The US International Trade Commission will review that decision.

Best Buy (NYSE:BBY) reported earnings of $0.03 per share. Analysts expected the electronics retailer to report EPS of $0.12. Shares are down 3.6%.

Marianne Lake was just named chief financial officer of JPMorgan Chase (NYSE:JPM).

After yesterday's huge global rally, futures are mixed. Dow (INDEXDJX:.DJI) futures fell 0.16% to 12,718.00. S&P 500 (INDEXSP:.INX) futures slipped 0.05% to 1,381.80, and Nasdaq (INDEXNASDAQ:.IXIC) futures rose by 0.03% to 2,586.25.

Today, Europe's finance ministers are discussing ways to shore up a 15 billion euro gap in Greece's finance. They will discuss charging lower interest rates and extending maturities as well as recycling the European Central Bank's profits on Greek bonds to take some of the pressure off the country.

Last week, after the Eurogroup of finance ministers announced that Greece will be given another two years to meet its fiscal targets, Christine Lagarde of the IMF publicly voiced her disagreement. In today's meeting in Brussels, the two parties will try to patch up those differences and finally decide whether it will disburse the next tranche of aid. Angela Merkel who is preparing for her third term as German chancellor, has ruled out writing off Greek debt.

The Greek government under Prime Minister Antonis Samaras has held up its end, taking down barriers to closed professions, reformed public pensions, and promising to take tax collection seriously.

The Bank of Japan announced that its asset purchasing program will stay at 66 trillion yen, resisting calls from politicians to expand the program. The central bank's next meeting will take place after the Dec. 16 election.

Yesterday, France's credit rating was downgraded to Aa1 from Aaa by Moody's. The ratings agency cited the "the risk to economic growth, and therefore to the government's finances, posed by the country's persistent structural economic challenges" as a primary reason for the one-notch downgrade.

This afternoon, Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke will speak at the Economic Club in New York. Here, he might weigh in on the fiscal cliff debate and the Fed's plans for monetary easing after the expiration of Operation Twist.

Twitter: @vincent_trivett
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No positions in stocks mentioned.
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