The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES:^DJI) is down after a second day of worse-than-expected reports on the housing market. As of 1:15 p.m. EDT the Dow is down 53 points, or 0.36%, to 14,507. The S&P 500 (SNPINDEX:^GSPC) is down 0.31%.

There was just one U.S. economic release today.

Report

Period

Actual

Previous

Pending home sales

February

(0.4%)

3.8%

Source: MarketWatch U.S. Economic Calendar.

Yesterday it was reported that new-home sales decreased in February to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 411,000. Today there was more negative news on the housing front when the National Association of Realtors revised its January pending-home-sales index downward and reported a decline of 0.4% in February.

US Pending Home Sales Index Chart

US Pending Home Sales Index data by YCharts.

While home prices rose in January, up 8.1% for the year, some economists are worried about the housing market. Professor Robert Shiller -- of Case-Shiller Home Price Index fame -- said yesterday in an interview with CNBC, "One thing that makes it very hard to forecast home prices right now is that we're living in a totally artificial real-estate economy." Shiller was referring to the continued long-term asset purchases by the Federal Reserve and the Fed's efforts to keep the Federal Funds rate between 0% and 0.25%. He concluded: "All of these things are weighing on the futures of housing. One thing you learn from history is that bubbles can occur at any time."

Today's Dow leader
Today's Dow leader is UnitedHealth (NYSE:UNH), up 1.7%. The health care sector is up as a whole today. UnitedHealth has risen nearly 5% this month and 3% just this week. The company is in the unique position of both offering insurance and building the federally operated health-insurance exchange. As Obamacare comes into full effect, UnitedHealth should benefit as more Americans gain access to health care. While UnitedHealth is today's top Dow stock, one Fool analyst thinks health care investors should focus on the company he calls "the investor's best health care stock in the Dow."

Second for the Dow today is Intel (NASDAQ:INTC), up 0.8%. Intel shares are up 6.53% this year and up nearly 4% this week as the chip maker works to become a major force in the mobile-chip market. Intel has joined with Samsung to build a new operating system for mobile called Tizen to challenge Android and iOS' dominance of the mobile-OS market. At the end of 2012, Android had a 68% market share, while iOS followed up with a 19% market share. Intel and Samsung hope to disrupt Android in Asia, where Android's Web-application backbone is not the preferred option among telecoms. If the effort is successful, Intel and Samsung will have a significant advantage in some of the world's largest telecom markets. While investors wait to see what will happen with Tizen, they can collect a 4.2% dividend from Intel -- a high enough income for Intel to be included in the 2013 Dogs of the Dow.

Third for the Dow today is ExxonMobil (NYSE:XOM), up 0.3%. The company is rising along with international oil prices, which are up 0.13% to $109.37 per barrel. U.S. natural gas is up 2% today to $4.09 per MMBtu, while the price of oil in the U.S. is down 0.2% to $96.03 per barrel. Fool analyst Matthew DiLallo recently took a look at ExxonMobil's operations around the world.

Dan Dzombak can be found on Twitter @DanDzombak or on his Facebook page, DanDzombak. He has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Intel and UnitedHealth Group. The Motley Fool owns shares of Intel. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.