The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES:^DJI) had added 100 points as of 11:30 a.m. EDT. Dow Jones component Intel (NASDAQ:INTC) lagged its index after reporting earnings, while tech stocks Yahoo! (NASDAQ:YHOO) and Twitter (NYSE:TWTR) experienced notable moves.
Housing data disappoints
Perhaps constraining the Dow Jones' gain, housing data came in weaker than expected on Wednesday. According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, housing starts in March rose 2.8% on a month-over-month basis, short of the 6.4% that economists had anticipated. In total, there were 946,000 U.S. housing starts, short of the 973,000 expected.
A weaker than expected housing market is a poor sign for the U.S. economy and, by extension, the stock market. A strong housing market suggests a stronger labor market, as workers purchase new homes.
Intel slumps after earnings
Intel was one of the Dow Jones' worst performers in late-morning trading. Intel reported earnings Tuesday afternoon; while it initially rallied on what looked like a solid quarter, the chipmaker's shares were just over breakeven in late-morning trading on Wednesday.
Intel's earnings per share exceeded consensus analyst expectations, while revenue came in line with estimates. Still, B. Riley downgraded the company from buy to neutral following the report.
Yahoo! surges on Alibaba revenue
Yahoo! shares were up more than 6.5% on Wednesday, a day after the Internet portal released its own quarterly earnings. The gain likely had little to do with Yahoo!'s core business -- revenue came in line with analysts expectations, while earnings per share exceeded estimates just slightly.
But in its earnings report, Yahoo! acknowledged Alibaba's rapid growth -- revenue jumped 66% in the fourth quarter. Yahoo! owns almost one-fourth of Alibaba, and the Chinese Internet giant is preparing an initial public offering for later this year. When Alibaba begins trading, Yahoo! will take in billions -- the more highly valued Alibaba is, the more Yahoo!'s stake is worth.
Twitter falls following yesterday's rally
Twitter, meanwhile, was posting a notable decline. Shares fell nearly 2% early in the session despite a lack of news. The sell-off was likely just a bounce back from yesterday's impressive rally -- Twitter shares surged more than 10% late in Tuesday's session after the company announced that it had acquired social media analytics company Gnip.
Gnip was an authorized reseller of Twitter's data. With GnIp's data now part of Twitter, the social network may be better positioned to monetize its wealth of data.