Housing data sends stocks lower

May 19, 2009 1:07:38 PM PDT
Investors are curbing their optimism about an economic recovery after housing construction tumbled to a record low. Stocks have ended mixed Tuesday as the surprise drop in construction and a cautious outlook from Home Depot Inc. pared gains in energy and utility stocks.

The Commerce Department said construction of homes and apartments fell 12.8 percent last month to the lowest pace on records going back a half-century. Analysts had expected housing starts to rise.

According to preliminary calculations, the Dow Jones industrial average is ending down 29.23, or 0.3 percent, at 8,474.85. The Standard & Poor's 500 index is down 1.58, or 0.2 percent, at 908.13. The Nasdaq composite index is up 2.18, or 0.1 percent, at 1,734.54.

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