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Stocks slip following homebuilding slowdown

Published on NewsOK Modified: February 20, 2013 at 1:44 pm •  Published: February 20, 2013

Even though housing construction slowed down in January, the Department of Commerce reported Wednesday that new housing starts remained strong. Builders started construction at an annual rate of 890,000 last month, down 8.5 percent from December. Applications for building permits increased.

Boeing rose $1 to $75.65. An investigation into the overheating of a battery that caused a Boeing 787 to make an emergency landing in Japan last month found that it was incorrectly wired. Separately, Boeing's engineers approved the company's contract offer late Tuesday, defusing a showdown that could have resulted in a strike.

The Dow closed at its highest level of the year Tuesday, bringing it within one percent of 14,164, the record high reached more than five years ago.

In the U.S. government bond market, the yield on the 10-year Treasury note was unchanged from late Tuesday at 2.03 percent. The yield, which is used as a benchmark rate for mortgages and other loans, has climbed steadily higher since the start of the year, when it traded around 1.70 percent.

Among companies making moves:

— GPS device maker Garmin slumped 9 percent, the biggest drop in the S&P 500 index, after the company's results missed analysts' forecasts. Demand has waned for handheld navigation devices as more customers use maps on their smartphones. Garmin lost $3.63 to $35.61.

— Food giant ConAgra gained 1 percent after it raised its profit forecast for the year. The company, whose brands include Chef Boyardee, said its acquisition of Ralcorp will add a nickel per share to adjusted earnings this year. ConAgra's stock rose 33 cents to $33.78.