Markets are starting to perk up this morning, despite a long-winded non-filibuster in the U.S. Senate amid efforts to pass a bill to fund the federal government past next Monday. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES: ^DJI ) and the S&P 500 are both edging into the green, a little more than one hour before noon. Looking especially lively today is JPMorgan Chase (NYSE: JPM ) , the biggest gainer on the Dow so far today.
Some decent economic news came out this morning, painting the housing sector with a rose-colored brush. Reuters reported that the Mortgage Bankers Association announced an uptick of 5.5% in the number of mortgage applications last week as mortgage rates slipped a bit after the Federal Reserve chose not to taper its open-ended monthly bond-buying program.
The U.S. Census Bureau delivered its report on new home sales for August, showing a jump of 14.6% over the revised July numbers. New single-family homes sold last month topped 421,000, well above the 390,000 units sold in July -- and above market expectations of 415,000.
A nice rally for a battered bank
As the Dow barely holds its head above water, JPMorgan is looking spiffy, with a gain of more than 2%, the biggest increase of any component on the index this morning.
The bank has certainly had its share of bad press lately, and has offered to pay the Department of Justice $3 billion to clear the decks of all the pending litigation it is facing. The talks continue, but JPMorgan may not get off so easily, with some estimates going as high as $7 billion if the big bank is to put out all its legal fires. Investors, however, seem to be welcoming the news that a deal is in the works -- no matter what the cost.
Other movers and shakers
Disney (NYSE: DIS ) has its sparkle on, as the company retrenches following problems with recent expensive box-office flops . CEO Bob Iger now says that the company is seriously considering producing content for both Amazon and Netflix, creating homegrown programming with Disney-owned Pixar, Lucasfilm, or ESPN. Iger seems open to just about anything in that regard, indicating that the content could resemble a television series or programming that is created specifically for online viewing.
Home Depot (NYSE: HD ) was in the red nearly all morning, but is rising quickly as the lunch hour approaches. With no company-specific news on tap, investors may have digested the earlier housing news, which undoubtedly bodes well for the home improvement retailer -- as Home Depot stands to profit handsomely from a steadily improving housing market.
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