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Why Wal-Mart Can't Save the Dow Today

http://www.fool.com/investing/general/2013/02/21/why-wal-mart-cant-save-the-dow-today.aspx

John Maxfield
February 21, 2013

For the second day in a row, blue-chip stocks are down considerably. On the heels of yesterday's triple-digit loss, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEX: ^DJI) is down 76 points, or 0.55%, with roughly an hour left in trading.

All eyes have been on the housing market over the last few days as a handful of reports have led some analysts to conclude that the still-nascent recovery may be floundering. On Tuesday, the National Association of Home Builders reported that confidence among homebuilders declined in its most recent Housing Market Index. And yesterday, the Department of commerce released data (link opens PDF) showing that housing starts fell by 8.5% in January compared to December.

The one reprieve was news that existing-home sales edged up last month. The National Association of Realtors said today that sales of previously owned homes increased 0.4% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.92 million in January. This was 9.1%