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March housing starts rise 2.8%; Bank of America misses; Big Nasdaq stocks in bear territory

Hot Stock Minute

Stock futures were higher this morning on better-than-expected news on China's economy. China reported its economy slowed to 7.4% growth in the first quarter, but that was slightly better than Wall Street analysts were anticipating. The news eased fears that China's economy is headed for a hard landing.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Commerce Department said home construction rose for the second-straight month, up 2.8% in March to a seasonally-adjusted 946,000. Economists were expecting 965,000 housing starts. Building permits, which are an indication of future activity, declined 2.4% in March.

The White House today is expected to announce a new $600 million program aimed at job training in an effort to spur job creation and bring the unemployment rate down from the current 6.7%. In the associated video, Yahoo Finance Editor-in-Chief Aaron Task weighs in on whether the move is likely to work.

In corporate news, Bank of America (BAC) reported it swung to a loss in the first quarter. Earnings per share missed estimates by $0.10. Revenue was slightly better than expected. BofA recorded $6 billion in litigation expenses related to its settlement with federal housing authorities over its mortgage business.

Shares of SodaStream (SODA) surged in pre-market trading on reports the company is in talks with a large soft drink company to sell a stake of up to 10% at a price of $52 a share. Potential buyers include Pepsi (PEP), Dr. Pepper Snapple Group (DPS) and possibly Starbucks (SBUX).

While the Nasdaq (^IXIC) hovers above 10% correction territory, some of the biggest names on the Nasdaq are in bear market territory off more than 20% from their 52-week highs. And it’s not just tech. As of Tuesday’s close, Staples (SPLS) is off 30% from its 52-week high. Netflix (NFLX) is down 29% from its peak. Tesla (TSLA) is off 27%. Whole Foods (WFM) is off 25%. And Amazon (AMZN) is off 23%. So, why the selling? Aaron Task and Lauren Lyster discuss what’s behind the drop in certain Nasdaq names in today’s Hot Stock Minute.

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