1:00pm (EST)

The market is mildly positive after spending much of the morning near the flat line.  There have been spurts to the upside, but traders were cautious ahead the disappointing existing home sales report.  Although selling pressure picked up after Wall Street got the numbers at 10am the market is still mixed.

We don’t need a drum roll for this one…Existing home sales for May decreased 2.2% month-over-month to an annualized rate of 5.7 million units, which was below the expected rate of 6.1 million units.  We knew home-buying tax credits from the government would be fading, but many pencil pushers were expecting them to lift sales in May and June.

The deadline to get a mortgage loan and still qualify was April 30, and those buyers are expected to close by the end of this month. Some haven’t which is the reason for the disappointment, but there is talk of extending the deadline for closing a sale until the end of September.

It probably won’t matter either way because people need a job to buy a house.  However, a lot of people’s credit scores are spotty and banks are still unwilling to make riskier loans.  You also have the home sellers who still THINK their house is worth the price it was back at the real estate top and are having a hard time excepting the facts even though they are behind on their house payments. 

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In earnings news, Carnival (CCL, $33.91, down $0.83) reported profits of $252 million, or $0.32 a share, versus $264 million and $0.33 a share, in the year-earlier period.  Wall Street was looking for $0.29 a share.

Revenue came in at $3.2 billion versus $2.9 billion a year ago, but increased fuel prices hurt earnings by 20 cents a share during the quarter.  Wow. 

Carnival trimmed the fat where it could to make up these costs, but somewhere down the road we expect the BP (BP, $29.63, down $0.70) news to come into play. 

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Speaking of which, BP has hit fresh lows as the world watches the most irresponsible and distasteful CEO’s ever.  There is no need to go into the details because we aren’t the paparazzi, but we’re sure you have heard of his latest actions. 

Oh, and this just in.  The IRS is thinking about TAXING the victims who have and will receive checks from BP.  This could and should change, and if it doesn’t, we will truly see how greedy politicians can be.  Congress has the power to make them tax exempt.  What is hard to believe is this is actually a story.

As we head to press, the Dow is up a point to 10,442 while the S&P is off a point to 1,111.  The Nasdaq is higher by 10 points and is at 2,299 and is fighting the 2,300 level as we type. Subscribers, check the Members Area for the updates.

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