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Market Update : 
Housing Starts Up, Oil $127, Stocks Turn Lower
Author: Staff
Last Update: 11:11 AM EDT May 16 2008

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9:15AM New York – Stock are expected to open higher on the April housing data and rise in energy companies.

U.S. stock futures are indicating market to open higher with Dow and S&P 500 indexes up nearly 0.3%. Nervous investors and speculators are expected to drive housing and building materials stocks higher on the surge in housing starts in April month of 8%. Building permits rose 4.9%. Building starts were led by a rise of 24% in the Midwest.

Housing starts in April were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.032 million, up 8.2% from the revised March estimate of 0.95 million, but is 30.6% below the revised April 2007 rate of 1.5 million. Single-family housing starts in April were at a rate of 692,000, down 1.7% from the March 704,000 units. The April rate for units in buildings with five units or more was 326,000.

Asian markets review

In Tokyo Nikkei 225 Index closed lower 32.26 or 0.23% to 14,219.48, in Hong Kong Hang Seng index increased 105.15 or 0.41% closed to 25,618.86. In Australia ASX 200 index higher 40.30 or 0.68% to close 5,931.00. In Malaysia KL Composite index increased 6.52 or 0.50% closed to 1,300.67.

In South Korea Kospi Index increased 3.17 or 0.17% to close at 1,888.88, in Thailand SET index closed higher 14.72 or 1.72% to 870.33 and Indonesia JSE Index edged increased 19.03 or 0.78% to 2,468.84. Sensex index in India increased 81.40 or 0.47% to 17,434.94.

Earnings review

Autodesk Inc, the design software maker said first quarter revenues rose 18% to $598.8 million from $508.6 million a year ago. Net income in the quarter jumped 14% to $94.6 million or 41 cents per diluted share compared to net income of $83.3 million or 34 cents per share, a year ago.

Autodesk Inc stock (ADSK) closed at $40.94 in Thursday’s trading.

Kohl''s Corp, department store chain said first quarter sales rose 1.5% to $3.6 billion from $3.5 billion a year ago. Net income in the quarter jumped 27% to $153 million or 49 cents per diluted share compared to net income of $209 million or 64 cents per share, a year ago.

Kohl''s Corp stock (KSS) closed at $50.49 on Thursday.

WNS (Holdings) Limited, Indian outsourcing services provider said fourth quarter revenues rose 5% to $116.1 million from $110.7 million a year ago. Net income in the quarter declined 32% to $6.1 million or 14 cents per American Depositary Share compared to net income of $8.9 million or 21 cents per ADS, a year ago. For the fiscal year, Net income fell 64% to $9.5 million or 22 cents per ADS, from $26.6 million or 65 cents per ADS a year ago. Revenue rose 31% to $459.9 million from $352.3 million last year.

WNS (Holdings) Limited stock (WNS) closed at $18.17 on Thursday.

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Sources: Data collected by and from company press releases, filings and corporate websites.
Market data: BATS Exchange. Inc.

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