US STOCKS-Bargain hunting buoys Wall St after weak data

* New-home sales tumble to record low in July

* U.S. durable goods orders rise less than expected

* Technical level on S&P 500 attracts buyers

* Dow up 0.2 pct, S&P up 0.3 pct, Nasdaq up 0.6 pct

* For up-to-the-minute market news see [STXNEWS/US]
(Updates to midafternoon, changes byline)

By Leah Schnurr

NEW YORK, Aug 25 (BestGrowthStock) – U.S. stocks (Read more about the stock market today. ) edged higher on
Wednesday as an early session decline through a key technical
level on the S&P prompted buying, despite weak economic data
that dimmed hopes for a robust recovery.

Adding to Tuesday’s dismal home sales data, new U.S.
single-family home sales slumped to a record slow pace in July,
while orders for costly durable goods rose far less than
anticipated. For details, see [ID:nN25121445].

“Overall this is still a very careful market,” said
Quincy Krosby, market strategist at Prudential Financial in
Newark, New Jersey.

“Until we see a package of decidedly positive data, this
market is going to be vulnerable.”

Bank stocks, with their exposure to the housing market,
slid for a fifth day in a row on the July home sales data. The
KBW bank index (.BKX: ) briefly hit 42.70, its lowest level in
2010. The index was down almost 1 percent and has lost more
than 6 percent in the last week.

Nonetheless, the S&P 500 found support at 1,040, a level
closely watched by chartists. The benchmark index hit lows in
the 1,040 area in February, May and early June, indicating some
investors may see a dip below it as a buying opportunity.

“At a level like 1,040, where a lot of people are watching,
you’re going to get a little bit of a bounce,” said Paul
Hickey, co-founder of research firm Bespoke Investment Group in
Harrison, New York.

The Dow Jones industrial average (.DJI: ) added 24.18 points,
or 0.24 percent, to 10,064.63. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index
(.SPX: ) rose 3.03 points, or 0.29 percent, to 1,054.90. The
Nasdaq Composite Index (.IXIC: ) gained 12.67 points, or 0.60
percent, to 2,136.43.

Energy shares dragged on the S&P 500 as coal miners dropped
on concerns that power plants would switch to natural gas from
coal as the price of gas fell. [ID:nN25136250].

Massey Energy (MEE.N: ) tumbled 4.5 percent to $28.80 and
Arch Coal Inc (ACI.N: ) dropped 2.9 percent to $21.76.

Among the laggards in the bank sector, Wells Fargo & Co
(WFC.N: ) fell 0.6 percent to $23.49, while Suntrust Banks
(STI.N: ) lost 1.5 percent to $22.83.

Healthcare stocks, among the least sensitive to economy
swings, outperformed the overall market.

Coventry Health Care Inc (CVH.N: ) gained 4.3 percent to
$20.22, and the S&P health stocks sector (.GSPA: ) added 0.8
percent, rebounding from a 2 percent loss on Tuesday.

Both luxury homebuilder Toll Brothers Inc (TOL.N: ) and
apparel retailer American Eagle Outfitters Inc (AEO.N: ) rallied
after reporting quarterly results. Toll gained 4.9 percent to
$17, and American Eagle was up 7.6 percent at $13.44.
[ID:nSGE67O0GI] [ID:nN25116657].
(Editing by Padraic Cassidy)

US STOCKS-Bargain hunting buoys Wall St after weak data