US shares rocked in housing data shock

THE Dow and S&amp;P 500 slipped yesterday as financial shares sank and on disappointing housing data, but the Nasdaq rose as investors snapped up technology shares ahead of results from Hewlett Packard.<br /><br />After a choppy session, financial shares fell as the US Senate passed a bill to curb sudden credit card interest rate increases and hidden fees, a move that analysts said would hurt the profits of major credit card issuers.<br /><br />&ldquo;Any way you look at it, it&rsquo;s less favorable for banks,&rdquo; said Stephen Massocca, managing director at Wedbush Morgan. &ldquo;It&rsquo;s going to be more restrictive on interest rate raises,&rdquo; he said.<br /><br />Shares of <strong>American Express</strong> fell 5.1 per cent to $24.79, while <strong>Capital One Financial</strong> fell 4.5 per cent to $24.90. Shares in <strong>JPMorgan Chase</strong> were off 3.9 per cent to $36.81.<br /><br />The Nasdaq was cushioned from the worst of the losses, with big tech stocks such as <strong>Apple</strong>, up 0.6 per cent to $127.45, leading gains as investors snapped up shares in the technology sector.<br /><br />The Dow Jones industrial average fell 29.23 points, or 0.34 per cent, to 8,474.85. The Standard &amp; Poor&rsquo;s 500 index lost 1.58 points, or 0.17 per cent, to 908.13. The Nasdaq Composite index added 2.18 points, or 0.13 per cent, to 1,734.54.<br /><br /><strong>Hewlett Packard</strong>, the world&rsquo;s top personal computer maker, gave a more pessimistic revenue forecast for the fiscal year as it reported in-line results, sending its shares lower.<br /><br />HP fell 3.9 per cent to $35.14 in extended trade after rising more than 2 per cent during the regular session when it was among the top boosts to the Dow industrials.<br /><br />Also weighing on sentiment, US housing starts and permits fell unexpectedly to record lows in April, hitting shares in some residential construction companies such as <strong>Centex</strong>, down 2.9 per cent to $9.56, while the Dow Jones home construction index lost 0.8 per cent.<br /><br /><strong>Home Depot</strong> posted a stronger-than-expected quarterly profit, but its shares fell 5.3 per cent to $24.63, putting the stock among the Dow&rsquo;s top drags, as the top US home improvement retailer said its markets remain under pressure.