Stocks Run in Place After Fed, Housing Data - TheStreet



) -- Stocks finished Wednesday's session where they spent much of the afternoon: near the neutral line and in mixed territory. Immediately after the

Federal Open Market Committee

announced it kept its

key rate near zero

and gave a somewhat melancholy assessment of the economy, stocks got some energy.

But a

disappointing new-home sales report weighed on the markets throughout the day.


Dow Jones Industrial Average

closed 5 points higher, or 0.1%, at 10,298. The

S&P 500

slipped 3 points, or 0.3%, at 1092, and the


trailed 8 points, or 0.3%, to finish at 2254.

In the afternoon, the FOMC released a statement saying it held the key

fed funds rate near zero

, and policymakers said the recovery is in effect. But the group remained guarded and highlighted economic headwinds such as high unemployment, weak housing starts and depressed lending.

Kansas City Federal Reserve Bank President Thomas Hoenig continued taking issue with the "exceptionally low ... for an extended period" language in reference to the key rate and remained the lone dissenter in the statement.

But a 32.7% tumble in May

new-home sales

set the market tone earlier in the day.

"Certainly the new-home sales data took the market down. It was trading higher after the selloff yesterday, but the truth of the matter is that the economic numbers that have been coming out for the past six weeks or so have been disappointing," said David Chalupnik, head of equities at First American Funds. "They've been putting the recovery into question and have been creating expectations for a weak recovery."

Overseas on Wednesday, Hong Kong's Hang Seng ticked 0.2% higher while Japan's Nikkei fell 1.9%. The FTSE in London was shed 1.3%, and the DAX in Frankfurt lost 1%.

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The Economy

The Department of Commerce said new-home sales fell to 300,000 in May from 446,000 in April, which was downwardly revised from 504,000. Economists had been projecting May sales of 430,000.

The Energy Information Administration said crude oil supplies unexpectedly gained 2 million barrels in the week ended June 18. The increase was milder than the additional 3.69 million barrels in supplies that the American Petroleum Institute reported late Tuesday but disappointed analysts who were expecting a 1.5 million-barrel decline, according to a Platts survey.

The EIA also said gasoline stockpiles lost 700,000 barrels, which was larger than the decrease of 500,000 barrels expected by analysts, and distillates saw a milder-than-expected increase of 300,000 barrels. Analysts polled by Platts had been looking for a gain of 1.4 million barrels.

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke


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Company News

Energy, utility and technology stocks were the session's worst performers, and

General Electric

(GE) - Get Report



(CVX) - Get Report



(MSFT) - Get Report


Exxon Mobil

(XOM) - Get Report

put the most pressure on the Dow.


(VZ) - Get Report






(GOOG) - Get Report

Android phone, the

Droid X this afternoon. Verizon shares rose 0.9%.

Philip Morris

(PM) - Get Report

reduced its full-year earnings outlook to $3.70 to $3.80 a share, from guidance given in April for a profit of $3.75 to $3.85 a share.

Rite Aid

(RAD) - Get Report

reduced costs to narrow its first-quarter loss. The drugstore company also reaffirmed its year-end guidance for a loss of between 41 cents and 65 cents a share.


(KMX) - Get Report

, the used-car dealership chain, said first-quarter earnings per share jumped to 44 cents from 13 cents a year ago. The stock gained 9.3% to finish at $21.85 today.

After the closing bell,


(NKE) - Get Report

said its fourth-quarter profit surged 53% and earnings per share of $1.06 topped expectations by a penny. But sales failed to meet forecasts and a sell-off commenced in after-hours trading.


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Commodities and the Dollar

Following the EIA's supply report, crude oil for August delivery declined by $1.50 to settle at $76.35 a barrel.

Elsewhere in commodity markets, the August gold contract settled $6 lower at $1,234.80 an ounce.

The dollar was trading lower against a basket of currencies, with the

dollar index down by 0.4%.


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A five-year Treasury note auction resulted in underwhelming demand, according to


. The $38 billion auction brought in a below-average bid-to-cover ratio at 2.58, yielding 1.995%.

The benchmark 10-year Treasury was up 14/32, dropping the yield to 3.114%.

The two-year note was down 7/32, increasing the yield to 0.676%. The 30-year bond was up 26/32, diluting the yield to 4.055%.

--Written by Melinda Peer and Sung Moss in New York



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