US STOCKS-Indexes slump as July US home sales hit 15-year low

* U.S. July existing home sales tumble 27 percent

* S&P, Nasdaq at seven-week lows

* Indexes down: Dow 1.1 pct, S&P 1.2 pct, Nasdaq 1.4 pct

* For up-to-the-minute market news see [STXNEWS/US]

By Ryan Vlastelica

NEW YORK, Aug 24 (BestGrowthStock) – U.S. stocks (Read more about the stock market today. ) fell more than 1
percent on Tuesday as sales of existing homes in the United
States last month fell to a 15-year low, underlining growing
concerns about the pace of economic recovery.

July U.S. existing home sales plummeted 27 percent, a drop
that was twice as steep as expected, to an annual rate of 3.83
million units, far below the 4.7 million rate forecast by a
Reuters poll of economists. For details, see [ID:nN24196313]

“Even after four years of declines, housing remains the key
threat to the recovery,” said Zach Pandl, an economist at
Nomura Securities International in New York.

“The problem that pushed us into recession to some degree
still remains. There’s still imbalance in the housing market;
too many homes and too little demand.”

Homebuilders tumbled after the data. Beazer Homes USA Inc
(BZH.N: ) dropped 2 percent to $3.49, and luxury homebuilder Toll
Brothers Inc (TOL.N: ) lost 2.2 percent to $15.86.
[ID:nN24250859]

The Dow Jones industrial average (.DJI: ) was down 109.97
points, or 1.08 percent, at 10,064.44. The Standard & Poor’s
500 Index (.SPX: ) was down 12.33 points, or 1.16 percent, at
1,055.03. The Nasdaq Composite Index (.IXIC: ) was down 31.16
points, or 1.44 percent, at 2,128.47.

European and Asian stocks fell on prospects for an anemic
global recovery, with the pan-European FTSEurofirst 300
(.FTEU3: ) index down 2.5 percent to its lowest intraday level
since late July. Tokyo shares sank to a 15-month closing low
amid mounting concern about government inaction over the strong
yen, which touched a 15-year high against the dollar.

“I use the yen as a barometer of investor sentiment, and
this shows how it continues to get increasingly negative,” said
Alan Gayle, senior investment strategist at RidgeWorth
Investments in Richmond, Virginia.

Dell Inc (DELL.O: ) is preparing to sweeten its offer for
3PAR Inc (PAR.N: ), according to a Bloomberg report. The move
comes a day after Hewlett-Packard Co (HPQ.N: ) bid $1.6 billion
for the data storage company.

Shares of 3PAR gained 2 percent to $26.62 while Dell fell
3.4 percent to $11.53 and HP, a Dow component, slid 1.1 percent
to $38.60. [ID:nN23223609]

Medical device maker Medtronic Inc (MDT.N: ) plunged 10
percent to $31.36 after it reported first-quarter revenue that
fell from the prior year. [ID:nN24240699]

Discount retailer Big Lots Inc (BIG.N: ) posted
second-quarter earnings that beat expectations by 1 cent a
share. It also raised its 2010 profit view, but the stock slid
3.4 percent to $30.68. [ID:nSGE67M0KN]

The Dow and S&P are on track for their fourth straight day
of losses, and both the S&P and Nasdaq are at their lowest
point in seven weeks. The Dow is at its lowest level since July
20.

According to a late Monday report in the Wall Street
Journal, at least seven of the 17 top Federal Reserve officials
at the U.S. central bank’s August meeting had reservations
about the decision to buy more Treasuries. [ID:nN23224642]

“This gives you the feeling that the Fed is losing a bit of
control, and along with the housing data only highlights how
the economy is on a real slow track,” said Robert Pavlik, chief
market strategist at Banyan Partners LLC in New York.
(Additional reporting by Rodrigo Campos; Editing by Padraic
Cassidy)

US STOCKS-Indexes slump as July US home sales hit 15-year low