The latest U.S. housing market data was a bright spot for investors, with housing starts jumping by 15% in September. Futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average were up 16 points, or 10.78 points below fair value, at 13,469. Futures for the S&P 500 were up 3.5 points, or 3.13 points above fair value, at 1453. Futures for the Nasdaq were down 4 points, or 10.68 points below fair value, at 2761. Bank of America beat third-quarter bottom-line estimates but came in light on the top line. Shares were up 0.53% in premarket trading. The Census Bureau said that housing starts rose to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 872,000 in September from an upwardly revised 758,000 in August. Economists were expecting a rate of 770,000 for September. "While we are nowhere near the peak, one has to go back to the middle of 2008 to find the last time starts were running at this level," said Dan Greenhaus, chief global strategist at BTIG. "If there was any doubt that the housing market was undergoing a recovery, even a modest one in the face of the terrible 2008 decline, those doubts should be erased by now," he added. The report said that building permits increased to an annual rate of 894,000 from a downwardly revised 801,000 in August. Economists were anticipating a September rate of 810,000. The FTSE 100 in London was rising 0.36% and the DAX in Germany was up 0.19% as Moody's decided to keep Spain's credit rating at investment grade level. The Nikkei Average in Tokyo closed higher by 1.21% on Wednesday and the Hang Seng in Hong Kong settled up 0.99% after Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda told his ministers to put together an economic stimulus plan. November crude oil futures were up 7 cents at $92.16 a barrel. December gold futures were rising $3.60 at $1,749.90 an ounce. The benchmark 10-year Treasury was falling 9/32, pushing the yield higher to 1.752%. The dollar was down 0.38%, according to the dollar index. In other corporate news, PepsiCo ( PEP) reported third-quarter earnings of $1.20 a share on revenue of $16.65 billion, versus the average analyst estimate of $1.16 a share on revenue of $16.9 billion. The snack and soda giant reaffirmed its full-year guidance and said it expects to return more than $6 billion to shareholders through dividends and share repurchases in 2012. Shares were up 0.14% in premarket trading. Power and hand tools company Stanley Black & Decker ( SWK) posted lower-than-expected third-quarter profit, citing challenges in Europe, while remaining optimistic about the U.S. and Asia. Shares were surrendering more than 4%. IBM edged past Wall Street's earnings forecast in its third quarter, but currency pressures weighed heavily on revenue. Shares were losing more than 3.5%. Intel posted net income of $3 billion, or 58 cents a share, for the three months ended Sept. 30 on revenue of $13.5 billion, compared with the average analyst estimate of 49 cents a share on revenue of $13.23 billion. The world's biggest semiconductor maker, however, said it continues to see weak demand across the globe. Shares were tumbling more than 4%. ASML ( ASML), the biggest supplier of equipment to semiconductor manufacturers, offered to buy Cymer ( S) for about $2.55 billion in cash and stock. ASML said its offer of $20 in cash and 1.1502 ASML shares per Cymer share represents a 61% premium to Cymer's average closing price over the past month. Cymer shares closed Tuesday at $47.83. The deal still needs approval from regulators and Cymer shareholders. Shares were falling more than 1%. Apollo Group ( APOL), the for-profit education company, fell short of revenue views for its latest quarter and announced a massive restructuring on Tuesday. A declining trend for enrollment is the culprit for Apollo Group, which operates the University of Phoenix, and the company is planning to lay off as many as 800 employees and close 115 locations as part of its reorganization. Shares were plunging more than 11%. U.S. Bancorp ( USB) on Wednesday continued its strong earnings streak, as mortgage origination volume remained very strong. Share prices were not yet available at last check. Bank of New York Mellon ( BK) on Wednesday reported a 7% year-over-year increase in management fees. Quotes were not yet available.
NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Stock futures were wavering Wednesday after financial heavyweight Bank of America ( BAC) posted mixed third-quarter results, while reports from IBM ( IBM) and Intel ( INTC) weighed on market sentiment.
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