I blame Bush.
Update (Kim): Woo Hoo! And in just 15 minutes after the opening bell to boot!
Update II (Kim again): From the WSJ (unfortunately, paid registration required):
Early Wednesday, the Labor Department said the consumer price index decreased 0.5% in September, the biggest drop since November 2005. Excluding food and energy, the CPI advanced 0.2%, the third-straight monthly increase of that size. Economists called for a 0.3% decline in the CPI and a 0.2% increase in the core index.
Meanwhile, the Commerce Department said September housing starts increased by 5.9% to a seasonally adjusted 1.772 million annual rate. Wall Street expected a decline of 1.2% to a 1.645 million annual rate last month.
Intel reported a 35% drop in third-quarter profit, but showed signs of mending problems that have been ailing the world’s largest chip maker. Intel shares were up 2.6% in early trade.
Yahoo also was up, rising more than 4% overseas after the company met expectations with a 20% sales rise. Profit at the Internet bellwether declined 37%.
IBM’s third-quarter net income rose 46% from a tax-charge-weakened level a year earlier, as sales rose 5.1%, reflecting growth in all major business lines. IBM shares climbed 4.9%.