The Straits Times
Published on Oct 18, 2012

S&P 500 gets housing lift, but IBM reins in the Dow


NEW YORK (REUTERS) - The S&P 500 rose for the third consecutive day on Wednesday after housing starts hit a four-year high, but the Dow was weighed down by IBM after it posted weak revenue.

Homebuilders' shares led gains after the Commerce Department said groundbreaking on new homes jumped 15 per cent in September, the quickest pace since July 2008. The surge in housing starts was viewed as evidence that the housing sector's fledgling recovery is bolstering the recovery of the broader economy.

The PHLX Housing Index rose 2.9 per cent.

International Business Machines Corp was a notable disappointment after the company said revenue fell short of expectations. The stock dropped 4.9 per cent, exerting an 81-point drag on the Dow industrials. IBM has an outsized influence on the Dow, which is a price-weighted index. IBM's stock closed at US$200.63.