1:05 PM New York – Stocks on Wall Street lacked direction as investors assessed the latest read on consumer prices, corporate earnings and diverging growth data from the euro zone and China. The dollar remained firm against the euro and the yen as manufacturing index dropped to an 11-month low in China.
Stocks on Wall Street lacked direction and market indexes hugged flat line as the euro rebounded and a private survey in China suggested slowing growth in manufacturing.
The inflation measure reported by the U.S. government showed consumer prices rose in February for the first time in four months after gasoline prices at pump stations rebounded modestly.
The index of consumer prices increased 0.2% in February from January. For the year all item index before seasonal adjustment unchanged, the Department of Labor said today.
Gasoline prices rose 2.4% in February after falling 18.7% in January and rose for the first time since June.
Food prices rose 0.2% after remaining unchanged in January and broad energy prices rose 1% in the month after falling 9.7% in the previous month.
Seasonally adjusted new home sales in February soared 7.8% to 539,000 from the revised January rate of 500,000 and surged 24.8% from a year ago month to 432,000, the Department of Commerce reported.
On Wall Street trading, Tollbooth Strategy Index increased 0.6% or 62.84 to 10,644.18.
S&P 500 index slid 4.70 or 0.2% to 2,099.73 and the Nasdaq Composite Index edged up 4.15 or 0.08% to 5,015.24.
Crude oil fell 10 cents a barrel to $47.35 and gold jumped $2.40 to $1,190.10 an ounce.
McCormick & Company, Inc
) soared 4.4% or $3.27 to $76.47 after the spice maker reported revenues in the first-quarter ending in February jumped 2% to $1.01 billion from a year ago period.
Net income in the quarter tumbled 14.5% to $70.5 million or 55 cents per diluted share compared to $82.5 million or 62 cents from the same quarter last year.
McCormick forecasted adjusted earnings per share in the range of $3.44 to $3.51 and sales to rise between 4% and 6%.
Ocwen Financial Corp
) dropped 2.6% or 23 cents to $8.57 after the financial services provider agreed to sell mortgage servicing rights on an additional $25 billion of loans to a subsidiary of Nationstar Mortgage Holdings Inc.
Ocwen’s residential mortgage servicing rights portfolio consists of about 142,000 loans held by Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae with a total principal balance of about $25 billion.
The transaction is expected to close before mid-year.
European markets traded higher after a composite index tracking activities in manufacturing surged to a four-year high of 54.1 in March.
The survey among 19 euro zone member nations showed growing activities and may offer early sign of the impact of the European Central Bank’s bond purchase program.
In London trading, FTSE 100 index rose 0.2% or 14.47 to 7,052.14 and in Frankfurt the DAX index gained 0.7% or 86.12 to 11,981.96.
In Paris, CAC 40 index increased 0.6% or 32.38 to 5,086.90.
H & M Hennes & Mauritz AB
plummeted 3.2% to 342.20 kronor after the Sweden-based apparel retailer said net sales in the first-quarter ending in February soared 25.3% to 40.28 billion kronor from 32.14 billion kronor in a year ago period.
Net profit in the quarter surged 36.2% from a year ago to 3.61 billion kronor compared to 2.65 billion kronor and earnings per share jumped to 2.18 kronor from 1.60 kronor.
declined 4.2% to 4,034 pence after the Switzerland-based plumbing, heating and building materials distributor reported total revenues in the first-half ending in January climbed 8.9% to £6.44 billion from £5.91 billion in a year ago period.