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Midday Market Update

Stocks Pare Losses; Italian Political Turmoil in Focus

U.S. Market    
Stocks pared early losses but were still lower at midday after Italian election fears resurfaced.

Attempts to form a government in Italy fell apart today. Democratic Party leader Luigi Bersani said that he will not attempt to form a coalition after the protest Five-Star Movement party said it was not interested in being part of a Bersani-led government. Bersani’s comments that only an “insane” person would want to run Italy right now, underscored investor fears about Italian governance.

Pending home sales fell 0.4% in February from the previous month according to the National Association of Realtors.  Pending sales were 8 % higher year-over-year. Economists had expected a 2% rise in sales.

At midday the Dow and S&P 500 were down 0.2% while the Nasdaq was off 0.1%.

Stocks on the Move

There was limited corporate news this morning. 

Foreign Markets
European shares were lower today on Italy worries. In late trading, the Paris CAC and Germany’s DAX were each down 1.1% while the FTSE 100 was off 0.3%.

Asian markets were higher today. The Shanghai Composite and Nikkei 225 were both up 0.2% while the Hang Seng advanced 0.7%.