Stocks are little changed at midday. Investors have generally sent stock prices lower lately, amid weaker than expected earnings reports. Apple and Amazon.com report earnings after the market closes.
- Facing what could be one of the key product launches in company history, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer today celebrated the imminent release of the company's Windows operating system. Windows 8 is the most dramatic overhaul of the personal computer market's dominant operating system in 17 years, coming at a time when people are migrating to smaller devices like smartphones and tablets.
- A gauge of future home sales was essentially flat last month. The National Association of Realtors index of pending home sales was up 0.3 percent, just below a two-year high in July.
- An average of U.S. mortgage rates rose slightly this week, continuing near record lows. Freddie Mac says the average for 30-year fixed mortgages edged up to 3.41 percent, from 3.37 last week. Three weeks ago, the rate touched 3.36 percent, the lowest on records dating to 1971.
- German authorities have ordered a recall of some batches of Novartis flu vaccine as a precautionary measure. This comes after the company reported the appearance of small particles in the manufacturing process.
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