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The stock market once again eased lower this morning as economic data gave more mixed news from the U.S. housing front. Existing-home sales fell 0.9% in February, with inventories rising to 6.4 months, but median prices rose slightly. Meanwhile, Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke said Europe needs to do more to get its sovereign-debt crisis under control and its economy moving forward. As of 10:45 a.m. EDT, the Dow Jones Industrials (INDEX: ^DJI ) were down 20 points to 13,150, while the S&P 500 lost one point to 1,404.
Among Dow stocks, JPMorgan Chase (NYSE: JPM ) fell about 0.8%. The bank got good news yesterday, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a lower court's ruling that dismissed a lawsuit alleging that the former Washington Mutual had assisted a Caribbean bank run a Ponzi scheme.
Hewlett-Packard (NYSE: HPQ ) dropped nearly 2% after announcing it would combine its personal computer and printer divisions into a single unit. With sales and profits from printers having fallen substantially, HP hopes the move will help its brand and improve support. It could also result in lower costs for HP, although the company didn't talk about any potential job cuts from the restructuring.
Finally, Chevron (NYSE: CVX ) was down almost 1%. The company said oil from the current leak off the coast of Brazil is different from an earlier leak, confirming that the two events aren't related. But prosecutors in the Brazilian state of Rio de Janeiro are expected to file charges against executives at Chevron and driller Transocean (NYSE: RIG ) sometime today. Clearly, the Brazilian government wants to emphasize safety in order to avoid a disaster similar to the Gulf spill in 2010.
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