Daniel Gross

Morning Reading: Data Offset Earnings

Contrary Indicator

The Nutshell: World stocks mostly slumped and U.S. futures are pointing toward losses at the open despite better than expected earnings and improved profit outlooks from Wal-Mart and Home Depot.

*Early losses came after data showed euro zone growth slowed to 0.2%, with German growth, in particular, stalling unexpectedly. And UK consumer price inflation popped 4.4%.

*In the U.S., a fresh round of economic data: The Commerce Department said builders began work on a seasonally adjusted 604,000 homes last month, a 1.5 percent decrease from June and about 4,000 fewer than expected. That's half the 1.2 million homes per year that economists say must be built to sustain a healthy housing market, the AP reports. In other data, real estate website Trulia reported that buying was cheaper than renting in 74% of the country's 50 largest cities in July.

Earnings:

Wal-Mart, Home Depot, Saks, Dell

Economic Data:

8:30 July Housing Starts (604,000 vs. 613,000 in June)

8:30 July Building Permits (597,000 vs. 617,000 in June)

8:30 Export and Import Prices (0.2% vs. 0.1% and -0.1% in June, respectively)

9:15 Capacity Utilization

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