The stock markets in the United States fluctuated today as investors weigh home sales data, and merger activities offset concern regarding conflicts overseas. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) and the S&P 500 ended the trading session slightly higher, but the NASDAQ was a bit down today.

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In a telephone interview with Bloomberg, Sam Wardell, an investment strategist at Pioneer Investments commented, “The market has been very benign. You got a little bit geopolitical fear out there. We’re still on track and as long as wars in the rest of the world don’t upset the upper card, the second half of this year continues to look like it’s going to be a gradually improving year.’

During the early trading, today, U.S. stock markets were trading lower due to data that the residential real estate is struggling to improve as the number of Americans who bought previously owned homes were fewer than estimated in June. The S&P index of home builders declined 1.7%, the lowest level since May.

Data compiled by Bloomberg showed that mergers and acquisitions are booming amid low-interest rates, and the corporate cash hoarding is also growing. This year, there were $1.1 trillion worth of acquisitions have been announced.

Patricia Edwards, director of investments at the Private Client Reserve of U.S. Bank Wealth Management, said, “We’re seeing continued upward momentum in the economy. You’ve got the earnings that have been coming in fairly well, and you’ve got the mergers and acquisitions.”

U.S. Markets

• Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA)- 16,981.12 (+0.12%)
• S&P 500- 1,978.80 (+0.02%)
• NASDAQ- 4,444.91 (-0.10%)
• Russell 2000- 1,140.94 (-0.33%)

European Markets

• EURO STOXX 50 Price EUR- 3,171.55 (-0.11%)
• FTSE 100 Index- 6,788.07 (-0.05%)
• Deutsche Borse AG German Stock Index DAX- 9,598.17 (-0.48%)

Asia-Pacific Markets

• Nikkei 225- 15,529.40 (+0.46%)
• Hong Kong Hang Seng Index- 24,428.63 (+0.88%)
• Shanghai Shenzhen CSI 300 Index- 2,323.90 (+2.81%)

Stocks in Focus

The stock price of Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) gained as much as 2.26% earlier today on report that Panasonic Corporation (ADR) (OTCMKTS:PCRFY) signed an agreement to invest in the gigafactory of electric car manufacturer. In May, the Japanese electronics conglomerate indicated its intention to become Tesla’s sole partner in manufacturing batteries.

The shares of Trulia Inc (NYSE:TRLA) surged more than 15% to $65.05 per share. Zillow Inc (NASDAQ:Z) agreed to acquire Trulia for $3.5 billion in stock for stock transaction. The stock price of Zillow climbed nearly 1% to $160.32 per share.

Family Dollar Stores, Inc. (NYSE:FDO) increased almost 25% to $75.24 per share. Dollar Tree, Inc. (NASDAQ:DLTR) agreed to purchase Family Dollar for $8.5 billion to strengthen its competition against Wal-Mart Stores, Inc, (NYSE:WMT) and Dollar General Corp (NYSE:DG).