So often easily spooked by terrorist threats, Wall Street barely blinked today after Attorney General John D. Ashcroft said al Qaeda is "almost ready" to launch attacks on the United States this summer.
Neither that warning nor slowing sales of new homes and big ticket items did much to move a market that from the opening bell seemed determined to try to hang on to as much of yesterday's big gains as possible.
It wound up being a break-even day for the Dow Jones industrial average -- which was off a little -- and the Standard & Poor's 500 stock index -- which was up a little--the fifth day in a row that it has shown gains. And it was the fourth day in a row of solid gains for the Nasdaq Stock Market composite index.
The Nasdaq index climbed 11.5 points to 1,976.15, ending the session up 80 points in the past four days.
After picking up 159 points on Tuesday and crawling back above the 10,000 mark, the Dow gave back less than 8 points today, closing at 10,109.89. The S&P 500 closed up 2 points at 1,114.95.
With interest rates on home mortgages up more than 1 percentage point in the past few weeks, new home sales are slowing rapidly, the Commerce Department reported.
Homebuilders' sales fell almost 12 percent in April, their biggest decline in a decade.
Down, too, were sales of what the government calls "durable goods" that are intended to last two years or more. Sales of those items fell 2.9 percent, reversing a rapid increase in the two previous months.
The drop in new home sales contrasted with the 2.5 percent increase in sales of existing homes reported a day earlier by the National Association of Realtors.
Housing economists say that some slowdown in sales is inevitable as interest rates rise, but that the home sales and building markets will remain healthy until mortgage rates top 8 percent. Thirty-year, fixed-rate mortgages are now in the 6 percent range.
Homebuilder stocks slipped in response to the report, but there was little other evidence of the market reacting to any of the day's events.