"Admittedly, new home sales are a much smaller portion of the housing market, but the decline is coincident with the broader weakening of economic activity observed into the summer," said Dan Greenhaus, chief global strategist at BTIG. "Importantly, there was a very steep drop in sales of new homes in the northeast, falling to the lowest level we believe on record."
"While a housing recovery is underway, it is most certainly not 'all good.' Fits and starts are to be expected and clearly this summer is one of the 'fits,'" Greenhaus said.
Across the pond, the U.K. reported second-quarter gross domestic product that saw the largest quarterly contraction since the first quarter of 2009, and the Ifo Institute's German business confidence index declined for July.
The FTSE in London finished flat and the DAX in Germany closed up 0.25%.September crude oil futures rose 47 cents to settle at $88.97 a barrel. August gold futures soared $31.90 to settle at $1608.10. The benchmark 10-year Treasury was down 2/32, raising the yield to 1.398%, while the greenback was sliding by 0.50%, according to the dollar index. In other corporate earnings news, automaker Ford (F) posted near-record profit in North America but showed declines in every other area of the world and missed second-quarter analysts' estimates. Shares ticked 9 cents lower to close at $8.97. RadioShack ( RSH) missed expectations and posted a second-quarter loss as sales slid and gross margins fell. The company also suspended its dividend payments. The stock dropped 29%. Shares of Riverbed Technology ( RVBD) jumped 26% after the network gear provider provided a better-than-expected third quarter guidance. Buffalo Wild Wings (BWLD) missed with its second-quarter results as it continues to struggle against high chicken wing prices. The stock lost nearly 11%. Netflix (NFLX) was also a big mover to the downside in Wednesday's trading after streaming movie and DVD-by-mail company beat the consensus but gave a mixed and rather confusing outlook, forecasting a potential loss in the third quarter and more red ink in the fourth quarter as it continues its international expansion. The stock dropped 25% on nearly five times its normal volume.
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