1:05pm (EST) 

The bears have ruled today’s session but the damage has been minimal as the bulls try to add to this week’s gains.

The Commerce Department reported new home sales fell unexpectedly to the in February as the bad winter weather kept buyers out of the market.  New home sales fell 2.2 % last month to a seasonally adjusted annual sales pace of 308,000.   Wall Street was hoping sales would rise to 320,000.

In other economic news, Durable goods orders rose 0.5% last month, slightly below expectations for 0.7% growth.  However, it was the third straight month orders rose which is a good sign.

We mentioned the Portugal news this morning and the market is also dealing with rhetoric that the passage of a financial-overhaul bill is on its way.

Despite these worries, the Dow is only down 35 points, or 0.3%, to 10,853.  The index hit a low of 10,826 but held 10,800 which is what we wanted to see.

The S&P 500 has dropped 5 points, or 0.4%, and is trading at 1,169, while the Nasdaq is off 13, or 0.5%, to 2,402.

Stocks have struggled for much of the day but Sprint (S, $4.04, up $0.21) is up 5% after unveiling its 4G Android phone, the HTC Evo, adding yet another rival in the smartphone race.  The phone won’t be available until this summer but it has some cool bells and whistles.


We don’t like buying options on stocks under $5 but there is a ton of action in the Sprint April 4 calls (S100417C0004000, $0.28, up $0.14) which have doubled today.  The 52-week high for the stock is $6 so investors are seeing an opportunity.