U.S. Markets Plunge on Lowered GDP Estimates, Housing Sales and Global Concerns (JCG, RIMM)

The National Association of Realtors announced today that October home sales had declined by 2.2 percent. This puts home sales 25.9 percent below October 2009 levels. Much of this difference can be attributed to the tax incentives offered to home buyers during 2009 that are lacking this year. Also affecting the decline could be the temporary cessation of foreclosure proceedings in some states.

The meeting minutes for the Federal Open Market Committee meeting on November 2nd and 3rd were released today. The minutes show the FOMC lowered the projected change in GDP for 2010 and raised unemployment rate projections (you can see all economic projections here).

Investors, already concerned about the global economy, were pushed over the edge today by escalating issues in North and South Korea. Combining this tension with disappointing home sales and the Federal Reserve’s FOMC minutes, and the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 142.21 points to 11,036.37. The Nasdaq fell 37.07 points to 2,494.95 and the S&P 500 dropped 17.11 to 1,180.73.

Asian markets were mixed today while European markets were down.

Stocks in the news: J Crew Group Inc (NYSE: JCG), Research In Motion Ltd (NASDAQ: RIMM).