Aug. 28 - Summary: Wall Street regains lost ground as Syria related concerns boost energy shares; Planned home buys fall for second month; Nintendo plays tough on pricing in bid to revive sales. Conway G. Gittens reports.
Wall Street recovers from its worst day since June; some investors seizing the chance to do some buying on the cheap. The gains, however, were just a fraction of what was lost over the previous two sessions. Supply concerns stayed strong as Western nations seem ready to strike against Syria. Societe Generale betting global oil prices could hit $150 a barrel if a conflict spreads to other oil exporters in the Middle East. U.S. crude prices briefly touched a two-year high and that in turn put a strong bid under energy shares like ExxonMobil, Chevron, and EPL Oil and Gas. Here at home, new figures show a pullback in planned home purchases. Signed contracts fell in July, the second monthly drop in a row, according to a homebuilder group. But applications for new mortgages were up two weeks in a row, say the Mortgage Bankers Association. At the same time, traditional 30-year mortgage rates hit a two-year high of 4.8 %. Investors continue to sell homebuilding stocks with Lennar, Toll, Pulte, and KB all under pressure. Nintendo is ready to play hard this holiday season. A new handheld 2DS gaming system hits stores in October, playing all the games of the 3DS, but in 2D video - hence a lower price tag. And that's not all - Nintendo is hoping to win over gaming consumers with a price cut for the Wii U. At $299, the deluxe version is now 100-bucks cheaper than the upcoming Sony PlayStation 4 and 200 bucks less than the upcoming Microsoft Xbox one. European markets did not share in the American rebound; travel stocks down on rising tensions with Syria.