Bloomberg News

U.S. Stock Futures Trim Losses After Housing Starts Increase

October 19, 2011

Oct. 19 (Bloomberg) -- U.S. stock-index futures trimmed losses after housing starts rose more than forecast, bolstering optimism the economy may weather Europe’s debt crisis.

Futures on the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index expiring in December retreated 0.2 percent to 1,220.4 at 8:32 a.m. in New York after losing as much as 0.7 percent earlier.

Builders began work on 658,000 houses at an annual rate, up

15 percent from August and the most since April 2010, Commerce Department figures showed today in Washington. The median forecast in a Bloomberg News survey called for a 590,000 pace. Multifamily home starts surged to the highest since October 2008.

A separate report showed the consumer-price index climbed 0.3 percent from the prior month, in line with the median projection of economists surveyed by Bloomberg News. Excluding volatile food and fuel costs, the so-called core rose 0.1 percent, less than forecast and the smallest gain since March.

Futures retreated earlier as Apple Inc. slumped after reporting lower-than-estimated earnings and investors watched developments in Europe’s efforts to tame its debt crisis.

The S&P 500 jumped 2 percent yesterday after the Guardian newspaper reported that Germany and France have agreed to boost the region’s rescue fund, the European Financial Stability Facility, to 2 trillion euros ($2.8 trillion) from 440 billion euros. German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble hasn’t specified how much additional firepower the European bailout fund may have, ministry spokesman Martin Kotthaus told reporters today in Berlin.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael P. Regan at mregan12@bloomberg.net


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