US midday: Homebuilder index drops but shares stabilise

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LONDON (ShareCast) - - Goldman Sachs (NYSE: GS-PB - news) raises year-end target for S and P 500
- Cyprus deposit-tax proposal weighs on banks
- Some progress on deficit proposal

Dow Jones Industrials: -0.19%
Nasdaq Composite: -0.29%
S&P 500: -0.37%

The major US equity benchmarks are now cutting earlier losses despite news, over the weekend, that Cyprus may impose a levy on bank deposits to help finance a rescue of the country´s banking system. Adding to the downbeat sentiment may be the somewhat inconclusive results of the latest attempts in Italy to form a viable government.

Shares of Bank of America (Other OTC: BACYL - news) have turned back into the blue, but those of JP Morgan and Goldman Sachs are holding lower due to the news-flow surrounding Cyprus. The worry of some in the markets is that any such 'successful' rescue plan could create an incentive in European authorities´ minds to attempt a similar approach in larger economies - such as Spain or Italy - should those countries eventually need a similar degree of help as well. Or so at least some market commentary holds this afternoon.

Acting as a backdrop, over the weekend some observers indicated that progress had been made on reaching a bi-partisan budget agreement.

Also worth pointing out, strategists at Goldman Sachs have raised their year-end target for the S&P 500 to 1,625 points from 1,575 points before.

Transocean (NYSE: RIG - news) shareholders have voted against a proposal by activist investor Carl Icahn in favour of a $4-a-share annual dividend.

Significantly, analysts at Morgan Stanley (Xetra: 885836 - news) have upgraded their view on Hewlett Packard (NYSE: HPQ - news) , while those at Citi have moved to a 'buy' recommendation on shares of Verizon Communications and United Technologies (NYSE: UTX - news) , from neutral before.

Morgan Stanley has raised its recommendation on shares of AMD (NYSE: AMD - news) to overweight.

From a sector stand-point the worst performance is now to be seen in the following industrial groups: Oil equipment (-2.06%), investment services (-1.43%) and Renewable Energies (-2.43%).

The National Association of Home Builders home index for the month of March fell to the 44 point level from 46 in the month before (Consensus: 47).

Front month West Texas crude futures are now rising by 0.1% to the 93.51 dollar per barrel level on the NYMEX.

10 year US Treasury yields are now dropping by 4 basis points, to the 1.95%.

S&P 500 - Risers
J.C. Penney Co. Inc. (JCP (Taiwan OTC: 4747.TWO - news) ) $16.68 +7.75%
Intuitive Surgical Inc (NasdaqGS: ISRG - news) . (ISRG) $479.22 +4.31%
Best Buy Co. Inc (NYSE: BBY - news) . (BBY) $22.03 +2.73%
Hewlett-Packard Co. (HPQ) $22.77 +2.66%
CONSOL Energy Inc (NYSE: CNX - news) . (CNX) $34.78 +2.57%
Constellation Brands Inc (NYSE: STZ - news) . Class A (STZ) $46.89 +2.49%
Apple Inc (NasdaqGS: AAPL - news) . (AAPL) $454.04 +2.34%
Advanced Micro Devices Inc. (AMD) $2.65 +2.12%
Masco Corp. (MAS) $20.38 +2.08%
Cablevision Systems Corp. (CVC (Taiwan OTC: 4744.TWO - news) ) $14.36 +2.02%

S&P 500 - Fallers
Helmerich & Payne Inc (NYSE: HP - news) . (HP) $63.27 -4.51%
Schlumberger Ltd. (SLB) $76.90 -3.15%
Nabors Industries Ltd (NYSE: NBR - news) . (NBR) $16.72 -3.02%
Expedia Inc (NasdaqGS: EXPE - news) . (EXPE) $64.66 -2.36%
Carnival Corp. (CCL) $34.14 -2.32%
Citigroup Inc (NYSE: C - news) . (C) $46.18 -2.29%
Rowan Companies plc (NYSE: RDC - news) (RDC) $34.98 -2.24%
Morgan Stanley (MS) $23.07 -2.19%
Micron Technology Inc (NasdaqGS: MU - news) . (MU) $9.17 -2.13%
Host Hotels & Resorts Inc (NYSE: HST - news) . (HST) $17.37 -2.03%

Dow Jones I.A - Risers
Hewlett-Packard Co. (HPQ) $22.77 +2.66%
Verizon Communications Inc. (VZ) $48.78 +1.58%
Home Depot Inc. (HD) $69.64 +0.86%
Caterpillar Inc (NYSE: CAT - news) . (CAT (Taiwan OTC: 4990.TWO - news) ) $89.58 +0.85%
Travelers Company Inc. (TRV) $82.92 +0.78%
Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) $28.23 +0.68%
Unitedhealth Group Inc. (UNH) $55.10 +0.67%
Pfizer Inc (NYSE: PFE - news) . (PFE) $28.13 +0.38%
Procter & Gamble Co (NYSE: PG - news) . (PG) $76.36 +0.03%

Dow Jones I.A - Fallers
Boeing Co (NYSE: BA - news) . (BA) $85.26 -1.35%
JP Morgan Chase (Other OTC: JFTTL - news) & Co. (JPM) $49.45 -1.13%
Walt Disney Co. (DIS) $56.95 -1.09%
McDonald's Corp. (MCD) $98.79 -0.88%
Merck & Co. Inc (Xetra: A0YD8Q - news) . (MRK) $43.78 -0.70%
3M Co. (MMM) $105.66 -0.70%
Cisco Systems Inc (HKSE: 4333.HK - news) . (CSCO) $21.79 -0.62%
General Electric Co. (GE) $23.30 -0.61%
International Business Machines Corp. (IBM (NYSE: IBM - news) ) $213.68 -0.58%
E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Co. (DD) $49.64 -0.52%

Nasdaq 100 - Risers
Intuitive Surgical Inc. (ISRG) $479.22 +4.31%
Apple Inc. (AAPL) $454.04 +2.34%
Bed Bath & Beyond Inc (NasdaqGS: BBBY - news) . (BBBY) $61.97 +1.70%
Vodafone Group Plc ADS (VOD) $28.07 +1.52%
Sears Holdings Corp. (SHLD) $52.39 +1.10%
Dollar Tree Stores Inc. (DLTR) $44.68 +0.99%
O'Reilly Automotive Inc. (ORLY) $104.64 +0.85%
Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) $28.23 +0.68%
Staples Inc (NasdaqGS: SPLS - news) . (SPLS) $13.48 +0.60%
Broadcom Corp (NasdaqGS: BRCM - news) . (BRCM) $34.84 +0.56%

Nasdaq 100 - Fallers
Expedia Inc. (EXPE) $64.66 -2.36%
Micron Technology Inc. (MU) $9.17 -2.13%
Priceline.Com Inc. (PCLN) $699.17 -2.01%
Vertex Pharmaceuticals Inc. (VRTX) $51.28 -1.97%
Maxim Integrated Products Inc (NasdaqGS: MXIM - news) . (MXIM) $32.24 -1.86%
NetApp Inc (NasdaqGS: NTAP - news) . (NTAP) $33.92 -1.84%
Fossil Inc (NasdaqGS: FOSL - news) . (FOSL) $103.11 -1.77%
Applied Materials Inc (NasdaqGS: AMAT - news) . (AMAT) $13.07 -1.77%
Amazon.Com Inc. (AMZN) $257.23 -1.75%
Citrix Systems Inc (NasdaqGS: CTXS - news) . (CTXS) $72.60 -1.61%

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