Stocks rally on soothing news from 2 big names

NEW YORK — Wall Street shot higher Tuesday, lifting the Dow Jones industrials nearly 320 points after reassuring news from Goldman Sachs and Wal-Mart quelled some fears about the credit crisis and the economy.

Goldman Sachs heartened investors with word that it didn't expect a significant hit from the subprime mortgage turmoil.

Meanwhile, Wal-Mart reported its third-quarter profit beat projections.

The Dow rose 319.54, or 2.46 percent, to 13,307.09. Broader indexes also rose sharply. The Standard & Poor's 500 index jumped 41.86, or 2.91 percent, to 1,481.04, and the Nasdaq composite index gained 89.52, or 3.46 percent, to 2,673.65.

Wal-Mart earnings beat expectations for quarter

BENTONVILLE, ARK. — Wal-Mart, the nation's largest retailer, posted third-quarter earnings Tuesday of $2.86 billion, an 8 percent rise that beat Wall Street expectations.

Wal-Mart had revenue of $91.95 billion in the period ending Oct. 31, up 8.8 percent from $84.47 billion a year ago.

Realtors group trims its '07 sales forecast again

WASHINGTON — Sales of existing homes in the U.S. are forecast to decline to a five-year low in 2007, a trade group for real estate agents said Tuesday, and the outlook for 2008 is worsening.

The ninth straight downwardly revised monthly forecast from the National Association of Realtors calls for U.S. existing home sales to fall 12.7 percent this year to 5.66 million. Last month, the association predicted a 10.8 percent drop from a year ago.

Home Depot's earnings hammered by housing

ATLANTA — A persistently bleak housing environment forced The Home Depot Inc. to diminish its financial outlook Tuesday as the nation's largest home improvement store chain posted a 26.8 percent drop in third-quarter profits.

Home Depot said it earned $1.09 billion, or 60 cents a share, for the three months ending Oct. 28. Revenue dropped 3.5 percent to $18.96 billion.

Home Depot predicted a decline of as much as 11 percent in earnings per share from continued operations because of "softness in the housing market."

Bank of America warns of $3 billion writedown

CHARLOTTE — Bank of America Corp. said Tuesday it will take a $3 billion debt-related writedown in the fourth quarter and warned that its losses could grow, adding to fears the nation's housing and mortgage-lending slump might exact a greater toll than in the third quarter, when industry writedowns topped $40 billion.

The bank said it also will spend about $600 million to support a group of its money market funds because of "uncertainty around the value" of some of the funds' investments which use borrowed money to make risky but potentially high-yielding investments.