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Market Hustle: Stocks Mixed on Weak Economic Data, BioTech Mega-Deal

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- U.S. markets closed mixed Tuesday as poor reports from the homebuilding and manufacturing sectors weighed against a $25 billion biotech deal. The NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index fell drastically in February, with confidence down 10 points to 46 from 56 -- the largest drop in the history of the survey. Economists put the blame partly on supply constraints and weather conditions.

On the M&A front, Forest Laboratories (FRX) was surging almost 30% after Actavis (ACT) announced Tuesday that it was buying Forest for about $25 billion.

  • The S&P 500 was 0.11% higher at 1,840.73 while the Dow Jones Industrial Average was off 0.15% to 16,130.27. The Nasdaq was up 0.68% to 4,272.78.
  • The February Empire State Manufacturing Survey fell to 4.48 vs. the average economist estimate of 9.
  • Coca-Cola (KO) was the biggest laggard in the Dow, down 3.75% after posting in-line fourth-quarter earnings of 46 cents a share on revenue of $11.04 billion, which was less than the average sales forecast of $11.31 billion for the beverage giant. In the S&P 500, railroad operator Kansas City Southern (KSU) shed 4.46% to $91.68 after JPMorgan cut it to neutral from an overweight rating.
  • The maker of the Candy Crush Saga smartphone game, King Digital Entertainment, said Tuesday that it had filed for an initial public offering of up to $500 million.
  • The Nikkei 225 in Japan closed higher by 3.13% at 14,843.24 and the Hong Kong Hang Seng finished up 0.23% after the Bank of Japan said it was doubling the size of its lending facilities designed to stimulate bank lending and economic growth. The FTSE in London finished 0.9% higher and the DAX in Germany was up 0.03%.
  • The Federal Reserve Bank of New York said outstanding household debt increased $241 billion in the fourth quarter from the prior quarter, the largest quarter over quarter jump since 2007. The increase was led by a 1.9% rise in mortgage debt to $152 billion.
  • Stocks booked their second-straight week of gains on Friday after consumer sentiment beat expectations and companies from Cliffs Natural Resources (CLF) to Campbell Soup (CPB) topped earnings estimates. The S&P 500 has been close to eliminating its year-to-date losses in part due to Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen's indication earlier last week that the central bank's stimulus tapering plans will stay the course.

--- By Jane Searle and Andrea Tse in New York

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