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Should we be more worried about housing?First the scoreboard:

Dow: 13,080.7, +34.5, +0.2%
S&P 500: 1,397.1, +4.3, +0.3%
NASDAQ: 3,067.9, +4.6, +0.1%

And now the top stories:

  • There was a one-two punch of bad housing data today.  First, we got a horrible quarterly earnings announcement from KB Homes.  They reported revenue of $256 million versus analysts’ expectations for $337 million.  They also reported a hefty loss of $0.59 per share versus expectations for a $0.24 per share loss.  “While we are encouraged by the recent positive economic and housing market trends, our operational and financial results for the first quarter were mixed,” said management. “We ended the quarter with a higher backlog compared to a year ago, although our orders moderated.”
  • February new home sales declined 1.6 per cent to 313k at an annualized rate.  Economists were expecting sales to climb to 325k.  Even worse, January’s number was revised down to 318k from a previous reading of 321k.  In fact, every major housing data point fell short of expectations this week.  See a complete roundup here.
  • However, the bad data didn’t stop Bank of America’s bearish economics team from turning more bullish on housing yesterday.  The team, which includes Chris Flanagan, Michelle Meyer, and Ryan Asato, is now calling for home prices to bottom and actually rise 0.5 per cent this year.  This compares to their previous expectation calling for prices to sink by 3.5 per cent.  This Fantastic Presentation Has Everything You Need To Know About The Housing Market And Why It Has Bottomed >
  • Some weird things happened in the stock markets today.  First, Apple crashed 9 per cent to $542.80.  Shares were halted and then resumed trading at $598.39.  Whew.
  • Some blamed the Apple crash on the BATS IPO, which will probably go down as the most horrific IPO of all time.  BATS, the third largest stock exchange in the U.S. was set to start trading today on its own exchange.  Priced at $15.25, the stock immediately crashed to less than $0.04.  The stock was supposed to reopen at around 1:15 PM EST, but that didn’t happen.  And according to the latest headline, BATS is pulling the plug.  Read all about it here.
  • Amid all of this madness, the stock market bull-bear debate raged on.  Citi’s Tobias Levkovich was out reiterating his Raging Bull thesis, a long-term secular bullish call on the U.S. stock market.  But Goldman Sachs’ David Kostin also came out reiterating his call for the S&P 500 to retreat to 1,250 by the end of the year.  Who’s right?
  • Don’t Miss: The Most Amazing Economics Website In The World >

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