Stocks are lower

Stocks started the trading session in the red on Tuesday morning.

Near 9:32 a.m. ET, the Dow was down 41 points, the S&P 500 was down 3 points, and the Nasdaq was down 9 points.

During a couple of the last few sessions, including Monday’s, stocks opened lower but climbed during the session to close positive.

Chinese stocks plunged, with the benchmark Shanghai Composite closing down 6.12%, its largest percentage decline since July 27.

In economic data, housing starts rose 0.2% at an annualized rate of 1.21 million in July, the most since October 2007. Building permits plunged 16.3% at an annual rate of 1.12 million. Economists said the expiration of New York City tax incentives caused a spike in permits in June.

Home Depot is bullish on the US housing industry. “We saw balanced growth across our business resulting from strength in the core of the store as well as the continued recovery of the U.S. housing market,” said CEO Craig Menear in quarterly earnings results released Tuesday. The company beat forecasts on sales, and raised its full-year outlook for revenues and earnings.

Walmart also reported earnings, but their numbers were a bit light. The retail giant’s $US120.3 billion in revenue was slightly higher than the $US119.7 billion estimated, while earnings after expenses came in at $US1.08 per share, versus $US1.12 forecast. Shares opened nearly 3% lower.

Near the market open, West Texas Intermediate crude oil was slightly higher, with futures in New York at $US42.52 per barrel. WTI fell to as low as $US41.95 overnight.

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